Student seeks to educate Hispanic community on health

SubmittedMembers of the Population Health Graduate Organization (PHGO) at SHSU will be hosting “Encontrando el Equilibrio” (Finding The Balance) Health and Wellness Education and Resource Fair. The event is centered around health and wellness for the Hispanic community.

Growing up in a single-parent Hispanic household can be challenging. And while some, like Iris Martinez, have access to healthcare insurance and healthcare providers, others are not so fortunate. 

Now a graduate student at Sam Houston State University, Martinez spends much of her time delivering health and wellness information to her home community. Her efforts will culminate with the Encontrando el Equilibrio (finding the balance), which is a new health and wellness education and resource fair for the Hispanic community in Huntsville.

“As I grew into other parts of the community, I realized that not all members had the same access to health care,” Martinez said. “In addition, while I had the resources to care for my health, my social upbringing in the Hispanic culture consequently influenced the way I projected health behaviors. I then, too, found there was more to health than what I perceived.”

The health fair, which will take place April 12 from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Sam Walker Houston Cultural Center, is expected to serve as platform for future events of this nature.

“Research has revealed that exposure to health and wellness information bridges the gap between disparity and health outcomes for communities,” Martinez added. “The Office of Minority Health informs us that hispanic health is often shaped by factors such as language and cultural barriers, lack of access to preventive care and the lack of health insurance.”

Attendees to the health fair will have the opportunity to meet other people within their community and establish relationships with representatives of organizations that provide services. Topics covered will include health and family services, insurance, oral health, financial literacy, mental health, environmental safety and social wellness.

“The event is targeted toward the Hispanic community. However, everyone is encouraged to attend,” Martinez said. “We are all part of making a change and enhancing our community. The volunteers and organizations of this event are bilingual in English and Spanish, and are able to share information in both languages.”

Encontrando el Equilibrio is being held in conjunction with the Population Health Graduation Organization at Sam Houston State, with organizations such as SAAFE House, WIC/ UTMB Clinic of Huntsville, The Care Center of Huntsville, Cole Pediatric Therapy and Gustavo Hernandez State Farm Insurance. Student organizations that are expected to be part of the event include, the SHSU Money Management Team, Project Sunshine, Bilingual Health Care Studies and the SHSU Pre-Dental Society.

“Together, I feel we can make a meaningful impact by promoting health education and wellness, while representing our local organizations and higher education institution,” Martinez added.

Trace Harris contributed to this report. 

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