From 1992 to 1997, staff at the Pilsen-Little Village Community Mental Health Center developed and implemented community-based interventions that would address sociocultural barriers to health care for Hispanic Americans in the Lower West (Pilsen) and South Lawndale (Little Village) areas of Chicago's Near South/West Side.
The project was part of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Program to Address Sociocultural Barriers to Health Care in Hispanic Communities national program.
Key Results: Making use of Proyecto HEAL's organizing concepts of empowerment, access and leadership, project staff:
- Recruited youth from area schools and their families for the center's Youth Leadership Program, which was designed to train youth peer-educators. An estimated 75 families participated in the leadership program, which was held during three academic years.
- Conducted Youth Health Summits in each of two years, engaging some 500 youths annually in activities designed to develop leadership skills.
- Participated in 25 partnerships and coalitions with other agencies that included Neighbors Against Gang Violence, the American Heart Association and Mothers Against Drunk Driving.
- Conducted 17 programs for its community, including:
- A fitness awareness program providing youth with an introduction to physical and mental health.
- A performance workshop on AIDS where youth learned dance, theater, video, and production skills, and gave numerous local performances.
- CPR training where youth received CPR certification through a program presented by the American Heart Association and the Chicago Fire Department.
- A variety of health education field trips through which youth received exposure to programs designed to address alcohol and drugs, drunk driving, and HIV/AIDS.
- Engaged in activities that addressed other community health issues, including:
- Dental health
- Environmental health
- Health risk reduction