LATINO HEALTH: San Mateo County Reaches Out
Nuestro Canto de Salud (Our Song of Health), a community outreach project in San Mateo County, is helping make health care more accessible to Latinos. The San Mateo County Times reports that Nuestro Canto outreach workers, or promotores de salud, hand flyers out in grocery stores, "knock on doors and visit churches to steer" the Latino population toward the county's health resources. The 45 Latinos promoting the program take six months of health classes "while reaching out to their community." The Times reports that the outreach program was started earlier this decade as a joint venture of the county and El Concilio, "an umbrella group of service providers for the Latin American community in San Mateo County." Ortensia Lopez, executive director of El Concilio, said: "The biggest challenge with all providers is the lack of bilingual providers. The county doesn't have a pool. So we say, 'We have to create them.'" Another problem, said promotor trainer Gloria Gross, is that health care providers are often unable to communicate effectively with Spanish-speaking members of the Latino community. "It's not enough to know the words to understand. You must also know the culture. For example, most Latinos aren't going to give up a staple like refried beans in a day. We do small approaches, like telling people to use oil instead of lard (to fry food)." Nuestro Canto recently received a $150,000 grant from California Endowment, "a group seeking to expand health care access in poor communities," the Times reports (World, 7/6).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.