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Hispanic Access Foundation Board Member, María del Mar Muñoz-Visoso has been appointed executive director of the Secretariat for Cultural Diversity in the Church of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
“Mar Muñoz-Visoso is a highly respected leader in the bishops’ conference, in Hispanic ministry and in Catholic communications,” said Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, USCCB general secretary. “The experience, expertise and energy she brings to the Cultural Diversity secretariat will greatly enhance the bishops’ vision for this area and will be a gift to the faithful of the communities served by that office.”
The appointment is effective February 27. Muñoz-Visoso succeeds Jesuit Father Allan Deck, the first executive director of the secretariat, which was established in 2008. Cultural Diversity in the Church coordinates the bishops’ outreach to members of the diverse cultures, ethnicities and races that make up the Church in the United States, serving communities of African Americans, Asians and Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, Native Americans, as well as migrants, refugees and travelers.
In 2010, Muñoz-Visoso received the Benemerenti Medal from Pope Benedict XVI, at the request of Archbishop Charles Chaput, OFM Cap. One of the highest honors the pope can bestow on an individual, the medal is given in gratitude for “sustained and exemplary service to the Catholic faith.” In 2011, she represented the USCCB Department of Communications at the Church and Digital Culture conference in Santiago, Chile, sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and the Latin American Episcopal Conference (CELAM). She serves on the board of St. Francis International School in the Archdiocese of Washington, which gathers families of mixed income from more than 50 different nationalities.
The Hispanic Access Foundation has announced it will continue its partnership with H&R Block, the world’s largest tax services provider, to launch the next phase of its campaign “Prepárate Para Un Futuro Mejor” (Prepare Yourself for a Better Future) to educate Spanish-speaking taxpayers about tax issues affecting where they live, work and congregate. The outreach efforts, set to kick off this summer, will be targeting cities around the nation.
HAF and H&R Block will work with faith and community leaders in select communities to discuss tax topics, promote free workshops called Tax Talks and participate in community events.
“Hispanics, particularly those with limited English proficiency, need access to quality information in their language and to bilingual tax experts to help build their understanding about taxes,” said Maite Arce, executive director of HAF. “With over 2,100 bilingual offices nationwide, H&R Block is an ideal partner to help this population.”
The program’s goal is to increase Hispanics’ knowledge of the key elements that are critical to understand and consider when filing a tax return. These elements include the benefits of establishing an accurate tax history in the U.S. and how a tax return is an important tool when building a financial plan.
“Hispanics have a unique set of issues they deal with when it comes to taxes that are confusing and easy to overlook,” Arce said. “Through tax education we can help position them for greater long-term financial success.”
For more information about the local events, call us toll-free at 1-800-206-9096.
by: Charlotte Libov | from: AARP VIVA
When Juan Florez turned 60, his doctor recommended a colonoscopy.
“I was unfamiliar with the term, so I asked my doctor to describe it,” Florez recalls. “When he did, I said, ‘Oh no, I’m not doing that.’” A year later, when Florez returned for some routine tests, his doctor insisted, and though Florez displayed no symptoms, the tests came back positive for cancer.
“I wished I’d done [the screening] the year before,” says Florez, a retired postmaster living in Holbrook, Arizona. “It was a ‘macho’ thing.”
Juan Nogueras, M.D., chief of staff at Cleveland Clinic Florida, finds this reluctance among Hispanics common — and disturbing.
“Hispanics are not as diligent as non-Hispanics about undergoing screening and, since there are no symptoms for early-stage colon cancer, we tend to present at an advanced stage, when the prognosis is worse,” says Nogueras, a board-certified colorectal surgeon.
Colorectal (colon and rectal) cancer statistics for Hispanics are alarming. It’s the second most commonly diagnosed cancer, and the second cancer-leading cause of death in men, third among women. Each year about 5,500 Hispanic men and 4,900 women are diagnosed with the disease, and about 1,600 men and 1,500 women die from it, according to the American Cancer Society.
Colon cancer occurs when polyps, or growths, in the colon become cancerous. During a colonoscopy, a doctor can detect and remove polyps, preventing cancer from occurring.
But people are often reluctant to undergo a colonoscopy because they fear it will be painful (it isn’t; it’s done under sedation); and they don’t want to do the preparation, which involves a thorough colon cleansing.
One reason for the discrepancy is a strong resistance to rectal exams, says Jose Mendoza-Silveiras, M.D., medical consultant and Medical Scientific Advisory Committee member at the Colon Cancer Alliance: “Women, like men, do not want a doctor to touch them there. They feel it is improper.”
Experts also attribute the low screening rates to a general reluctance by Hispanics — especially women — to examine their bodies, an extreme fear of cancer and a lack of resources to deal with serious medical issues should they arise.
Education, experts say, is the best prevention. Key messages include raising awareness of the symptoms, letting Hispanics know that colon cancer is highly treatable and informing them that colonoscopies are done under sedation with no discomfort.
At least two organizations around the country have made colon cancer outreach a key part of their work. One effort is the Hispanic Access Foundation’s national five-year Juntos Podemos Contra el Cáncer campaign. The foundation has pilot programs in Denver, Colorado, and Yakima, Washington, and in 2012 it plans to launch a multifaceted program that includes a major media campaign, community workshops and affiliations with Spanish-language churches and local health professionals.
And then there’s Juan Florez, who has his own one-person word-of-mouth initiative. After his diagnosis, he had surgery and chemotherapy — which he believes he could have avoided if he’d had the colonoscopy when his doctor first recommended it. Now 65 and healthy, Florez considers himself lucky.
“A friend wouldn’t go to the doctor for anything, and he was diagnosed with late-stage colon cancer, which killed him,” says Florez, who now constantly tells his friends: “Go and get the test, and then you won’t have to have it done again for another five or 10 years. You’ll have gotten it out of the way.”
Read about six ways to prevent colon cancer risk from AARP VIVA.
Housing Environments and Child Health Conditions among Recent Mexican Immigrant Families: A Population-Based Study
In a new study by the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health, researchers found that children of immigrant parents are more likely to be exposed to environmental risk factor leading to asthma and atopy- an allergic hypersensitivity reaction.
The authors used community health workers to conduct 250 household surveys of recently immigrated Mexican families including 574 children. Households consisted of at least one foreign born parent, used Spanish as the primary language, and had at least one child. Data collection was done between November 2005 and August 2007, during which time community health workers conducted Spanish surveys and obtained blood lead samples, while inspectors analyzed household conditions and took environmental samples. The authors found that over 35% of homes were overcrowded and 54% of households had incomes of less than $20,000 a year. Adequate ventilation was found in only 28% of homes while mold and pests were found in 44% and 28% of homes respectively. When the authors performed an exploratory analysis to find the relationship between housing conditions and symptoms of asthma and atopy, they found that the prevalence of wheezing symptoms increased with decreased ventilation. Atopy symptoms were noted in 15.5% of children living in homes with minimal to no ventilation. Household pests also contributed to children’s health as wheezing symptoms were more evident (8.1%) among children living in households with pests than children living in households without pests (2.3%).
The authors noted that children of recent immigrants may be less likely to access medical care and go undiagnosed. Authors suggested that solutions include household-level improvements and access to health care by partnering with public health organizations and clinics to raise awareness of housing and child health needs.
SOURCE: Kaiser Family Foundation analysis of the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey Cost & Use Files, 2006.
On average, Hispanics outlive whites by 2.5 years and blacks by 7.7 years, according to the report. Their life expectancy at birth in 2006 was 80.6 years, compared with 78.1 for whites, 72.9 for blacks and 77.7 years for the total population. Asians are not included in the data.
The report shows that the Hispanic population has higher life expectancy at birth and at almost every age despite a socioeconomic status lower than that of whites.
The Hispanic paradox has been documented for more than two decades, but this is the first time the government has had enough data to issue national numbers. It wasn’t until 1997 that every state had a Hispanic category on death certificates.
Researchers are struggling to explain why Hispanics live longer.
“We don’t know,” says David Hayes-Bautista, director of the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine. “We thought it was a problem in the data, but we can pretty much say this is real.”
•Culture and lifestyle. Support from extended family and lower rates of smoking and drinking. “Latino groups in particular have very strong family and social ties,” says Hal Strelnick of the Montefiore Medical Center in New York City. “People who are very well socially connected do better than people who are isolated.”
•Migration. The “healthy migrant effect” argues that healthy people are more likely to emigrate. Hispanics have migrated to the USA in large numbers. Others theorize that when immigrants become ill, they might return home and die there. “I don’t think anyone has a great idea,” says Carl Haub, a demographer at the Population Reference Bureau. “We might want to see what Hispanics are doing and try to emulate them.”
Solving the puzzle may help the nation deal with health care issues because Hispanics use health services less — they make fewer doctors visits and spend less time in hospitals, Hayes-Bautista says.
“It’s clearly something in the Latino culture,” he says. “If this was the ‘healthy migrant effect,’ we would see it in all immigrant groups. It seems to be something in what Latinos do.”
Source: Haya El Nasser, USA TODAY