July 1999

Grant Results

National Program

Program to Address Sociocultural Barriers to Health Care in Hispanic Communities

SUMMARY

From 1992 to 1997, staff at the Latin American Research and Service Agency, located in Denver, implemented community-based interventions to address sociocultural barriers to health care for Hispanic Americans. The project's specific focus was on training families and health professionals to improve parenting skills and reduce violence.

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
Project staff:

  • Formed youth groups, totaling 60 youths, to provide them with health education.
  • Implemented a training program to improve parenting skills and reduce family violence, reaching some 600 parents of more than 2,000 children in the community.
  • Provided cultural competency training to more than 300 health care professionals.
  • Implemented Project CORE, a cancer-screening program.
  • Conducted five community health forums attended by some 120 community members.
  • Sponsored three statewide Hispanic health summits for over 500 health care professionals.
  • Ran a series of focus groups with adult and adolescent Latinas, emphasizing women because Latinas are traditionally the caretakers of the family.

Funding
RWJF supported this project through a grant of $231,000.

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THE PROBLEM

In 1993, Hispanics, the largest and fastest growing ethnic group in Colorado, comprised over 13 percent of the state's population, and 23 percent of Denver's population. The number of jobless Hispanics was double that of whites; nearly a third of all Hispanic individuals lived in poverty; nearly half of them were under 18. More than a quarter (28 percent) of Hispanic families were classified as poor, with over half of those families headed by a woman.

The death rate for heart disease among Hispanics was 9 percent greater than among whites, and for diabetes it was more than 300 percent greater than for whites. Critical health problems that are disproportionately high among Colorado's Hispanics include homicide, suicide, teen pregnancy, and AIDS.

LARASA was created in 1964 to improve the health, education, and self-sufficiency of Colorado's Latino community, which is disproportionately undereducated, unemployed, and low-income.

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THE PROJECT

Based on its Profiles of Health report, LARASA identified a number of activities it believed would address high-priority health issues in the community. LARASA's original strategy was to form youth groups, which totaled 60 youths by year two, and to provide them with health education using Proyecto HEAL's About Adolescence as a curriculum.

In the second year, LARASA encountered difficulties in coordinating with local schools. Therefore, for the remainder of the five-year program, LARASA shifted its emphasis from health education groups for youth to training for families and health professionals. During this period, activities included:

  • Implementing the Strengthening Families training program to improve parenting skills and reduce family violence. LARASA used the Strengthening Families curriculum to train 23 "master trainers," i.e., persons able to train others, and 262 family trainers to implement Strengthening Families programs. LARASA estimated they reached 600 parents of more than 2,000 children in the community.
  • Providing cultural competency training to more than 300 health care professionals, in concert with the Denver Health and Hospitals Committee and the Colorado Department of Public Health. LARASA provided two two-day training sessions for health care providers, using Delivering Health Care to Hispanics: A Manual for Providers. This program continued under additional funding from Proyecto Informar, a COSSHMO program separate from Proyecto HEAL.
  • Implementing Project CORE, a cancer-screening program, in collaboration with the National Organization of Breast Cancer Organizations, which gave a $5,000 grant for the activity.
  • Conducting five community health forums attended by some 120 community members, on the Profiles of Health report and on topics such as: "How Will Managed Care Affect the Latino Community?" and "Delivering Health Care to Documented and Undocumented People."
  • Sponsoring three statewide Hispanic health summits for over 500 health care professionals.
  • Running a series of focus groups with adult and adolescent Latinas, emphasizing women because Latinas are traditionally the caretakers of the family. Based on the focus groups, LARASA then organized a group of health professionals and community members to develop a "Top Ten" list of questions for Hispanic women to ask their health care providers and disseminated the list to Denver-area clinics.

Through Proyecto HEAL, LARASA participated in 65 partnerships for health education, planning, or service provision with local social service agencies, educational institutions, and health providers. LARASA used Proyecto HEAL to leverage funds, obtaining $434,000 to support Proyecto HEAL programs. It also worked with a local hospital to develop a low-cost health insurance plan.

Communications

LARASA distributed 200 copies of the Profiles in Health report to community members. LARASA's Strengthening Families project received coverage in TV interviews and local newspaper articles. It also distributed 65 issues of Hispanic Health Link, its periodic newsletter reporting on Latino health issues, statewide, by fax, to more than 300 health care professionals.

In addition, LARASA made a general distribution of several information pieces about program activities, conducted TV interviews, developed and produced public service announcements (PSAs), and received local newspaper coverage.

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AFTER THE GRANT

LARASA is continuing its involvement with health issues through ongoing use of the Strengthening Families curriculum and cultural competency training for health care professionals. It is maintaining a statewide coalition for Hispanic health leadership and advocacy established under HEAL. It is continuing outreach under the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), following initiation under HEAL of a low-cost insurance program with a local hospital, which has now converted to the SCHIP program. LARASA has also contracted for its own program evaluation.

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GRANT DETAILS & CONTACT INFORMATION

Project

Proyecto HEAL: Latin American Research and Service Agency (LARASA)

Grantee

Latin American Research and Service Agency (Denver,  CO)

  • Amount: $ 231,000
    Dates: September 1992 to November 1997


Contact

Executive Director: Maria Guajardo Luchero
(303) 722-5150

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Site address:
Latin American Research and Service Agency
309 W. First Avenue
Denver, CO 80223

Report prepared by: Mike Jackson
Report prepared by: Janet Heroux
Reviewed by: Molly McKaughan
Reviewed by: Marian Bass
Program Officer: Marguerite Johnson-Rountree
Program Officer: Eric (Tito) Coleman
Program Officer: Terri G. Appel

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