By Marcela Vargas, Project Coordinator, Institute for Hispanic Health, NCLR
With April upon us and spring finally here, I’m starting to see more people biking, walking, and jogging outside. Summer is in the back of people’s minds, and with it, the goal of getting healthier. While exercise is great, it’s not the only key to living a healthy lifestyle. At NCLR, we work to share information about living healthy with Latinos every day. And since April is , we are talking about the health disparities specific to minorities and how to address them.
One major health issue that hits Latinas particularly hard is cervical cancer. As I wrote earlier this year, Latinas have the highest incidence of cervical cancer and the second-highest mortality rate from this disease out of all racial and ethnic groups. NCLR’s project, Mujer Sana, Familia Fuerte (Health Woman, Strong Family), is an effort to empower our community to fight this disease.
Mujer Sana, Familia Fuerte was funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in late 2009 to address the need for effective cervical cancer education among Latinas. It’s a community-based project with the goal of increasing knowledge, changing attitudes, and shifting behaviors among Latinas. Ultimately, we want to lead Latinas to seek cervical cancer screenings in Washington, DC, and Chicago.
At the heart of Mujer Sana, Familia Fuerte are the promotores de salud (community health workers) who work with us. These inspiring women go into their communities, oftentimes distant communities, to spread the word about the importance of cervical cancer prevention.
I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know these women who do such important work. They have different backgrounds, experiences, and reasons for working with us on Mujer Sana, Familia Fuerte, but they have some important things in common: they all love the Latino community and they want to help educate and empower it.
As you can probably tell, I have a lot of admiration for these women. But rather than tell you more, I’d like to let one of them introduce herself. Below, meet America Guardado, one of our promotores. She will tell you why she works with Mujer Sana, Familia Fuerte and what it means to her. ***Note: the video featuring America Guardado is in Spanish.***