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El Centro honored with award


LORAIN, July 13, 2018: El Centro de Servicios Sociales has been selected to receive the Helen Rodríguez-Trías Health Award. This award, presented by UnidosUS, the nation’s largest Latino advocacy organization, recognizes nonprofits with exceptional leadership and a commitment to advancing health equity and improving the health and well-being of Latinos through the implementation of innovative strategies and practices within local communities. The competitive award also confers a $5,000 prize.


“It is a humbling experience to receive the Helen Rodríguez-Trías Award, especially during UnidosUS’s 50th anniversary conference in Washington DC. I’m blessed to have a team of staff that are dedicated, passionate and driven by El Centro’s mission,” said Victor Leandry, executive director of El Centro. “In addition to their dedication to El Centro’s mission, their personal strivings towards making our community a better place makes their work even more meaningful.


“We do what we do at El Centro not to be recognized: we do our work because it is the right thing to do and because of the need of the community. However, we accept this award with pride and on behalf of our partners in our health program: Mercy Health, Lorain County Board of Mental Health, Nord Family Foundation, Nordson Corporation Foundation and the Community Foundation. Many thanks to UnidosUS for the years of support and partnership in addition to this recognition.”


El Centro has served the county with health programming since its founding in 1974, but the agency re-committed its focus to promoting community health initiatives during a strategic planning process in 2014. Since that time, El Centro has started a Mental Health Navigator program with Lorain County Board of Mental Health, started a bilingual nutrition education program, and became certified to offer Spanish-language diabetes and chronic illness management education.


The agency also offers medical interpretation at Mercy Health locations and interprets for mental health agencies. Earlier in the year, El Centro was also awarded “Agency of the Year” by the National Association of Social Workers, Ohio Region II.


“This year’s recipient of the Helen Rodríguez-Trías Health Award is an organization that has been at the forefront of both empowering families and ensuring our community has an opportunity to live healthier lives,” said UnidosUS President and CEO Janet Murguía. “Our Affiliate, El Centro de Servicios Sociales, Inc., is deserving because of their tireless efforts to deliver critical support to a community that often faces cultural barriers. Their counselors help people navigate the health system and serve as an advocate for them on their health needs. Their contributions make it possible for Lorain’s Latino families to see a welcoming and familiar face when they seek the care they need and deserve.”


The health award is named in honor of Dr Helen Rodríguez-Trías, an internationally recognized health care  leader and advocate who dedicated her life to improving women’s and children’s health and well-being and expanding the range of public health services not only throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, but also in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Mexico. Dr Rodríguez-Trías was a pediatrician, educator, and women’s rights activist. She was the first Latina president of the American Public Health Association (APHA), a founding member of the Women’s Caucus of the APHA, and a recipient of the Presidential Citizen’s medal.


Editor’s Note: El Centro is a Latino non-profit advocacy organization whose mission is to enhance the socio-economic status of the greater Lorain County community by providing essential social, educational, cultural and community development services. El Centro has served all members of the community in need since 1974 and is committed to making access to healthcare and human services available to all in spite of language barriers.
For more information about El Centro and their programs, visit www.lorainelcentro.org or check out @LorainElCentro on Facebook.


UnidosUS, previously known as NCLR (National Council of La Raza), is the nation’s largest Latino civil rights and advocacy organization. Through its unique combination of expert research, advocacy, programs, and an Affiliate Network of nearly 300 community-based organizations across the United States and Puerto Rico, UnidosUS simultaneously challenges the social, economic, and political barriers that affect Latinos at the national and local levels. For 50 years, UnidosUS has united communities and different groups seeking common ground through collaboration, and that share a desire to make our country stronger.
For more information on UnidosUS, visit www.unidosus.org


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Revised: 07/17/18 14:20:16 -0700.




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