OUR OBJECTIVES

Providing free services to the most disadvantaged, low-income Hispanic communities in the areas of:

  1. late or no prenatal care;
  2. lack of access to primary care for children resulting in low rates of immunizations, repeated ear infection, tonsillitis, and ongoing respiratory illness;
  3. little practice of car seat safety;
  4. lack of exercise beginning in adolescence, unprotected sexual activity, abuse of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs;
  5. date rape, sexual abuse, HIV/STDs, domestic violence, injury and homicide;
  6. lack of affordable mental health services to deal with the high rates of depression;
  7. poor nutritional habits;
  8. adult onset of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and liver disease; and
  9. lack of information about aging issues such as menopause; osteoporosis and resulting fractures.

All of these conditions are affected by lifestyle and environment and are best impacted by early interventions through family centered, culturally competent health promotion/disease prevention programs.

Barriers to the solution of accessing health care services and information that would address these problems include:

Language has been found to be one of the principal barriers for Hispanics who need access to health care. Another barrier to access to care is the overriding importance of family, which causes Hispanics to subordinate their own individual health needs for the overall good of the family. Resources spent on preventive care or treatment of acute conditions is seen as critical resources directed away from the common good. Activities, which are for the exclusive benefit of the individual or interfere with family responsibilities, are not chosen if income is limited and a choice has to be made. Common expressions such as... "que sea lo que Dios quiera," (let it be the way God wants it to be) reveal the importance of others over oneself and a belief that an individual's action is inconsequential and therefore, useless. Screening examinations are avoided because whatever is going to happen will happen regardless of what we do to prevent it. "Que sera, sera" (Whatever will be, will be).

Compounding this situation is the marginalization Hispanics feel when they visit an American clinic or hospital. Hispanics are less likely to seek American professional health care, which are "high tech" but not "high touch" as the Mexican system tends to be. Because of these barriers, Mexicans, especially those that live on the border, will often rely more on Mexican health care professionals or traditional folk practices even if that means turning away from the technological advances in medicine or treatment protocols available in the U.S. Anecdotally, residents report better and quicker health outcomes from crossing the border to receive "...una injeccion" (an injection) than those experienced in American clinics with their long waits, minimal doctor/patient communication and fragmented, impersonal service.

Detailed Description Of Programs