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Ohio Latinos to meet for health summit Aug. 9

By Kevin Milliken, La Prensa Correspondent

Columbus: Latino leaders and policymakers from across the state will gather to talk about upcoming changes brought on by the Affordable Care Act, health disparities, and other related topics during the 2013 Ohio Latino Health Summit on Friday, Aug. 9, 2013 in Columbus.
 

The Ohio Commission on Hispanic/Latino Affairs (OCHLA) is sponsoring the summit, to be held at the Ohio Dept. of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) “Air Center,” 4020 E. Fifth Ave., in Columbus. The summit will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. “Prevention is the Cure” will be the theme of the summit.

A breakout session on the Affordable Care Act will feature three panelists, including Dept. of Health and Human Services official Brenda Delgado.

“It’s very critical. We’re quickly approaching the final stage of implementation of the law and Ohio Latinos need to be ready,” said Lilleana Cavanaugh, OCHLA executive director. “It’s crucial that our communities understand the implications of a potential Medicaid expansion, understand how to access and use the health insurance exchange, and become able to navigate the new health care system confidently.”

A panel discussion on health disparities will feature former Cincinnati Mayor Dwight Tillery, a representative of Closing the Health Gap Cincinnati, and Kim Rodas and Nueva Luz of Cleveland.

“Unfortunately, the scope of these disparities and the reasons for them are very broad, and can include a lack of health literacy, language barriers, and even an inability to travel safely to markets where healthy foods are available purchases,” said Ms. Cavanaugh. “These are just some causes, and these disparities can be quantified and illuminated by social determinants of health, which is one of the topics we’ll cover at this year’s summit. While disparities are more likely to affect low-income families among all demographic groups, including Latinos, these disparities are problematic for all Latinos and all Ohioans, as they add unnecessary costs to our health care system.”

A third breakout session will include a discussion of health policy and community engagement. Featured panelists include: Benito Lucio of the Ohio Dept. of Job and Family Services, Julia Arbini-Carbonell of the Ohio Hispanic Coalition, interpretation certification expert Bruno Romero, and Jesús Ovalle of the Office of Minority Health for the Columbus Dept. of Public Health.

“It’s an acknowledgment that the most effective way to fight these health disparities—and the most cost effective –is through promotion of prevention,” said Ms. Cavanaugh. “It is far preferable for an individual to make healthy nutrition choices and avoid diabetes altogether, for example, than to be diagnosed with diabetes and subsequently treated for the remainder her of his or her life. It is also significantly cheaper for our health care industry to focus on prevention as opposed to simply treatment.

Sen. Charleta Tavares will be the keynote speaker at the summit. The Columbus Democrat previously served on Columbus City Council and in the Ohio House of Representatives. Sen. Tavares also serves as the executive director for MultiEthnic Advocates for Cultural Competence (MACC), a statewide nonprofit organization with a mission to enhance the quality of care in Ohio’s behavioral healthcare system and to incorporate cultural competence into systems and organizations that care for the state’s vulnerable and at-risk populations.

Sen. Tavares sits on the Senate’s Medicaid, Health and Human Services Committee and serves as a Legislative Commissioner on OCHLA’s board. Most recently, she announced a joint initiative with Senator Shannon Jones to combat infant mortality in Ohio’s ethnic minority communities.

Senator Tavares is an expert legislator on minority health issues. On Columbus’s City Council, she chaired the Health and Human Development Committee. She heads an organization dedicated to bringing cultural competence to the health care industry and improving service delivery to minorities – including Latinos,” said Ms. Cavanaugh. “She also understands, as an elected leader, the critical role that community engagement plays in determining the suitability of a health care system. As the first black female to be elected to leadership in Ohio’s General Assembly, she is well qualified to speak on the role that community action can take in shaping policy, particularly in an area as critical as health care.”

Organizers hope summit participants leave with a confident understanding of all of the changes on the horizon for Ohio’s health care system.

“We hope participants leave feeling like they can be actively engaged to improve the trajectory for the health outcomes in their communities. We want participants to make new contacts and hear new ideas and best practices that they can take back,” said Ms. Cavanaugh. “We want participants to leave with a better sense of available resources for combating health disparities when they return to their communities. But mostly we want them to leave energized, and to feel like they have the tools and the allies to positively transform the health of their communities.”

 

Copyright © 1989 to 2013 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 08/06/13 20:19:10 -0700.

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