In the past 13 years, the Hispanic and Latino populations of Ohio have increased by 63 percent. With the increased population comes the increased need for helping others navigate the healthcare system.
“It’s a relatively new community compared to other Latino communities around the country in places like New Mexico, Arizona, Texas, California, and some of those southwestern areas, and even some of the bigger cities in the north and northeast like Chicago and Detroit,” says Dan Almaguer, director of health for the League of United Latin American Citizens
(LULAC) for both Cincinnati and the state of Ohio.
Because Cincinnati has a relatively new establishment of Latino communities, Almaguer says it’s vital to address things like transportation and language barriers, but also to start conversations about addressing health disparities that occur.
“The Latino community, along with the African American community, suffers from higher percentages of a variety of health issues, such as diabetes and HIV,” Almaguer says. “With diabetes—the obesity issue contributes, and that’s another area—and that is from lack of quality foods in some of the communities where our people live, and when you’re not getting good, nutritious foods and you live in a food desert, then you have to travel long ways to get your food. Oftentimes, you can’t get fresh produce unless you travel those long ways, and then transportation becomes an issue.”
To begin setting goals and objectives, leaders from not just Cincinnati—but from across the state of Ohio—will come together at the Ohio Latin Health Summit
in hopes of figuring out solutions to increase preventive care for Hispanic and Latino Americans throughout the area.
“We want to move from a cure-treatment mentality to a prevention approach,” Almaguer says. “Prevention is the cure. That’s true for any community—whether we’re talking Caucasian, African American, Asian, Latino, whatever—prevention is the best thing you can do. It’s more economically advantageous. We spend less money on health care by living healthy lives.”
the Summit if you're a health care professional or leader in Ohio.
• Keep up with the Ohio Latino Affairs Commission
, and contact the organization if you want to get involved.
• Like LULAC Cincinnati on Facebook
By Brittany York
Brittany York is a professor of English composition at the University of Cincinnati. She also edits the For Good section of SoapboxMedia.