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New Online Tool Puts Guests in Jack’s Kitchen

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San Diego, CA–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–April 7, 2004–Finicky foodies and calorie counters rejoice! Today, Jack in the Box(R) restaurants launch “Build Your Meal” – an interactive nutrition calculator that enables customers to compute nutritional information for their favorite Jack in the Box meal or a customized version of any burger or sandwich on the company’s Web site – http://www.jackinthebox.com.

Want to know how many calories you can save by deleting a slice of cheese from an Ultimate Cheeseburger? Or how many carb grams you can cut by nixing the bun? Jack’s new Build Your Meal quickly and easily computes this information and much more. Build Your Meal also provides nutritional information on ingredient substitutions, such as choosing low-fat balsamic vinaigrette to top a Southwestern Chicken Salad instead of regular dressing, or replacing the mayo-onion sauce on a Jumbo Jack(R) for a new low-fat herb mayo.

“An increasing number of consumers want to be more educated about what they eat,” said Patti Foley, media communications manager for Jack in the Box Inc. “Build Your Meal is a great tool to help our guests select a meal that fits their individual appetite and nutritional needs.”

In addition to helping its Web site visitors make educated menu choices, Jack in the Box restaurants also offer, upon request, brochures containing extensive nutritional information on all its menu items.

Jack in the Box Inc. (NYSE: JBX) operates and franchises two restaurant chains, Jack in the Box(R) and Qdoba Mexican Grill(R), in 32 states combined. Jack in the Box is the nation’s first major drive-thru hamburger chain, with more than 1,950 restaurants, and Qdoba Mexican Grill is an emerging leader in fast-casual dining, with more than 130 restaurants. With headquarters in San Diego, Jack in the Box Inc. has more than 45,000 employees.

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CONTACT:

Manager, Corporate Communications

Kathleen Finn

858/571-2301

LATV Shaking TV Airwaves with New Programming and #1 Ranked Show

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Los Angeles, CA–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–April 7, 2004–LATV, the first television network to exclusively dedicate programming to the growing Latino youth market, today announces a new lineup as part of its continuing efforts to cater to the growing U.S. Latino youth market. LATV launched in 2001, and now outperforms mun2, MTV, VH-1 and BET with its unique programming and live in-studio performances by A-list artists such as Paulina Rubio, Juanes, Soraya, George Lopez, Kinky and David Bisbal.

LATV, which recently launched as a 24/7 network in preparation for a national rollout, has just signed an agreement with two top Latino talents. Comedy pioneer and award-winning writer, Rick Najera, who most recently was nominated for a prestigious Writer’s Guild Award for his work on the national sketch variety show Mad TV, will develop original cutting edge programming for LATV. Najera is also known for his hit comedy show, “Latinologues(TM),” the number one showcase for Latino talent in America.

LATV is also partnering with Omar and Adolfo Valenzuela to create a reality series similar to MTV’s Making the Band. The Valenzuela brothers’ credits include Thalía’s Latin Grammy-nominated Con Banda: Grandes Éxitos and a remix of Paulina Rubio’s Si Tú Te Vas. Both new programs are expected to debut in July 2004.

“Rick Najera and the Valenzuela’s are leaders in their respective industries and work at the cutting edge of the creative world. Partnering with them is an important stage in the evolution of LATV,” said Danny Crowe, president of LATV. “We are very excited to have the opportunity to bring this new programming to our audience.”

As measured by Nielsen Media Research, the leading provider of television ratings data, LATV consistently ranks high among Hispanic cable viewers during prime time. In March LATV’s “Mex 2 the Max” was #1 (averaging 70,000 viewers and peaking at 96,000) among viewers aged 18-49 during the prime-time slot as compared to mun2, VH1, MTV, MTV2 and Fox Sports.

LATV’s Top-Rated, Award-Winning Shows

— Mex 2 the Max – One of LATV’s original live programs featuring top music acts in the popular area of Regional music.

— LATV Live – This two-hour live show provides viewers with a snapshot of today’s Mundo Latino. The show received a 2003 Imagen Award for Best Variety or Musical Special.

— Rok-A-Mole – Named 2003 “Best Rock TV Show” by L.A. Weekly and cited as being “like MTV with a brain,” this show brings a taste of the multicultural music and culture scene in which young Latinos live.

— The Hip Hop Show – Hosted by Eric Cubiche from Los Angeles radio station 100.3 The Beat, the show features the best in hip hop with an emphasis on the Latino side of the scene.

— Instant Request – the most interactive show around, which is not only live, but talks to viewers in real-time via e-mail, call-ins or through the LATV.com chat room.

About LATV

LATV is an entertainment, lifestyle and information network serving the growing population of bilingual U.S. Latino youth and young adults aged 12-34. Dedicated to creating smart, innovative and culturally relevant programming that appeals to a bicultural audience, LATV produces and airs 20 hours of first-run original programming each week. LATV currently reaches 4.4 million television households – including 3 million cable and satellite homes – across Los Angeles, the largest Hispanic market in the U.S.

Having recently expanded its programming to 24-hours a day, seven days a week, LATV is now available to cable and satellite providers nationwide. In the Los Angeles area, LATV can be viewed on cable, DIRECTV, The Dish Network, or over the air on LATV’s owned and operated KJLA. For more information on programming or how to carry LATV, visit the Web site at http://www.latv.com.

Note to editors: If you’d like to be a guest and watch first-hand the live in-studio LATV experience, please contact us at 323.202.1053 or 212.704.8163 to schedule a visit.

CONTACT:

Jackie Quintanilla

Edelman

323.202.1053

or

Barbie Casasus

Edelman

212.704.8163

Despite budget cuts across the country, communities celebrate National Library Week as public library visits near 1.2 billion

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CHICAGO–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–April 6, 2004–While library budget cuts have hurt services in more than 40 states, communities throughout the country are planning their annual celebration of National Library Week, April 18-24. This comes at a time when public library visits have reached an all-time high, and library services for immigrant communities are on the rise.

The development of Spanish-language library collections and programs for Hispanic youths and adults continues to increase, and Internet literacy programs for Spanish-speaking users are becoming more prevalent. According to the most recent federal statistics, in the past decade, public library visits have more than doubled to almost 1.2 billion annually, and a record-setting 1.79 billion items were borrowed from libraries in one year alone.

Despite such widespread use of public library services, an American Library Association (ALA) study shows that more than 40 states have seen library funding cuts in school, public and college and university libraries. At least $50 million in budgets, 520 service hours and 661 staff members have been cut from libraries in the last 10 months.

“Libraries must have the funding to meet the increased needs of our users – from offering free Internet access to creating multilingual collections and programs,” said ALA President Carla Hayden. “In order for libraries to continue to be places of opportunity for everyone everywhere, library staff and our advocates must speak up and speak out on behalf of the millions who depend on our services.”

Following is a brief list of some of the vital programs and services taking place in libraries today:

— Public libraries have played an important role in addressing the “Digital Divide,” the inequalities in both access to information technology and the ability to use it. Among library users, African Americans and Hispanics rank as the communities that rely most heavily on library computers for Internet access, according to a recent study by the Gates Foundation. Libraries across the country are providing Spanish-speaking users with computer classes, online educational resources, and the means to communicate with family members who live abroad.

— Public libraries are preparing infants and preschoolers to read. A recent national study shows that parents and caregivers of children under 5 years who took part in research-based public library early literacy programs significantly increased their literacy behaviors. The behaviors introduced through the program led to significant gains in children’s reading readiness. To learn more about early literacy and how parents and libraries can team for reading readiness, please visit http://www.ala.org/alsc/btrspanish.html

— At a time when election coverage is a daily occurrence, libraries across the country will participate in Register to Vote @ your library(R), an online voter registration effort. Libraries offer a civic space where the public can find voting information, speak freely, share similar interests and concerns and pursue what they believe is in their interest. http://www.yourvotematters.org/ala

— Many schools will observe School Library Media Month throughout April with open houses and other events that highlight the contributions of school libraries and librarians. Research in 14 states shows that the highest achieving students attend schools with well-stocked and staffed school library media centers. http://www.ala.org/aaslTemplate.cfm?Section=studentachieve

— Dozens of libraries will celebrate the first annual National Library Workers Day on Tuesday, April 20. Almost 395,000 people work in libraries across the country, providing a range of services from cataloging and shelving materials to organizing programs and events to updating the library’s Web site. http://www.ala-apa.org/nlwd/index.htm

To learn more about National Library Week and the ALA, please visit http://www.ala.org/nlw2004.

Media interested in scheduling interviews with English or Spanish-speaking national spokespeople should contact the ALA Public Information Office, Larra Clark at 312-280-5043, Macey Morales at 312-280-4393 or Kathy Mirkin at 312-280-5044.

With more than 63,000 members worldwide, the ALA is the voice of America’s libraries and the millions of people who depend on them.

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CONTACT:

Larra Clark

Press Officer

312-280-5043

The Aetna Foundation, Children’s Defense Fund Announce New Effort to Eliminate Disparities in Children’s Health

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Washington, DC–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – US Newswire)–April 6, 2004–The Aetna Foundation and the Children’s Defense Fund (CDF) today announced a groundbreaking project aimed at identifying and eliminating disparities in health for minority children. The focus on pediatrics is unique — most previous efforts to eliminate health disparities have focused on adults, especially regarding cardiac, cancer and stroke prevention and care. Aetna, a leader in addressing health disparities, has awarded CDF a grant of $225,000 over two years to support the project.

“For Aetna, this is not just a philanthropic issue. It is a central objective for our business,” said Aetna Chairman and CEO, John W. Rowe, M.D. “For the past two years, we have leveraged our information and research capabilities to determine how to best address disparities in our member population. With CDF as our partner, we have a tremendous opportunity to expand these efforts and fully explore the removal of barriers necessary for improving the health status of children.”

The Aetna/CDF project will seek to determine the extent of disparities in health between minority and white children, especially the disparities between minority and white children of similar incomes and/or health insurance status. Working with doctors, nurses, researchers, advocates and others in the health care field, the project will identify the most promising methods of intervention for closing the gaps between groups of children.

“The Children’s Defense Fund is proud to be joining Aetna in combating the racial disparities in children’s health,” said Marian Wright Edelman, president of CDF. “Every child deserves a healthy start in life, but America has not invested the resources or shown the commitment to making sure that minority and poor children have the same access to and standard of care that all other children have. This partnership between the Children’s Defense Fund and Aetna will produce the kind of evidence and concrete steps that can result in the reduction of disparities among children based on race. When racial disparities in children finally disappear, another roadblock to equal opportunity and success will be removed.”

Because the project is the first of its kind to focus on children, it is likely to produce a wealth of valuable new findings on how to address disparities among children at the local level. Project elements will include original analysis of survey data to quantify health disparities, identification and dissemination of best practices, convening of leaders in the field, and development and implementation (especially at the local level) of action plans that incorporate the best practices.

Founded as Aetna’s independent charitable and philanthropic arm more than three decades ago, the Foundation has taken a leadership role in working to address racial and ethnic disparities. In 2003, the company provided nearly $3 million in funding to programs focused primarily on addressing disease prevention and disparities in health.

The mission of the Children’s Defense Fund is to Leave No Child Behind(R) and to ensure every child a Healthy Start, a Head Start, a Fair Start, a Safe Start and a Moral Start in life and successful passage to adulthood with the help of caring families and communities.

Aetna is one of the nation’s leading providers of health care, dental, pharmacy, group life, disability and long-term care benefits, serving approximately 13.0 million medical members, 10.9 million dental members, 7.4 million pharmacy members and 12.3 million group insurance customers, as of December 31, 2003. The company has expansive nationwide networks of more than 600,000 health care services providers, including over 362,000 primary care and specialist physicians and 3,626 hospitals. For more information about Aetna, visit the company’s Web site at http://www.aetna.com

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CONTACT:

The Children’s Defense Fund

John Norton

202-662-3609

or

The Aetna Foundation

Kate Prout

215-775-6264

www.aetna.com

LatinClips Launches New Hard Clipping Service- LatinClips Press- To Track News From U.S. Hispanic Print Media Nationwide

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Miami, FL–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–April 6, 2004–News monitoring company LatinClips announced it has launched LatinClips Press, a new service dedicated to tracking newsclips and information from more than 200 Hispanic print media outlets nationwide. The addition of LatinClips Press brings to three the number of core U.S. Hispanic monitoring products that LatinClips now offers through its Diversity Solutions Services: Hispanic hardclips (LatinClips Press), online monitoring (LatinClips Online) and Spanish-language broadcast TV (LatinClips Broadcast TV).

“Our three-tiered product offering uniquely positions LatinClips as the best resource for PR practitioners and marketers focused on tracking and then measuring their Hispanic media outreach programs,” said LatinClips CEO Christine Clavijo-Kish. “Our mission is to continue enhancing existing services and develop new offerings and partnerships to fulfill our clients’ overall monitoring and measurement needs.”

LatinClips Press tracks news from U.S. Hispanic dailies, weeklies and monthlies that publish in Spanish, English or both languages in scores of Hispanic cities across the country. Client news clips are electronically delivered for simple retrieval and include a full record of the story such as the name of the publication, edition, circulation, page location and more. In just a few weeks, clients will be able to login to a password-protected database to view, sort, store, email and/or print their clips, as well as archive articles for a one-year period. LatinClips Press can also mail hard copies of clips for a special fee per clip.

“Our team continually strives to merge technology with easy-to-use features while bringing our clients the most comprehensive media coverage available,” said LatinClips President Dalia Salazar. “As former public relations, marketing and research practitioners we clearly understand the industry’s needs to properly track their organization’s messages.”

LatinClips Press has been available to industry professionals since mid February under a “beta test” phase. With feedback from clients, numerous data components and more media outlets were added to augment the service’s results. Several packages are now available featuring bundled rates with the company’s online monitoring services.

Additional details about the new service are available at LatinClips’ newly relaunched company website, http://www.LatinClips.com. Companies and organizations who would like to request a copy of LatinClips’ Press monitoring rates and services should visit the site or send an e-mail to pressclips@latinclips.com.

About LatinClips

Miami-based LatinClips is the industry’s most comprehensive ethnic media monitoring service in the United States. Its Diversity Solutions Services feature LatinClips Online, LatinClips Broadcast TV and LatinClips Press. LatinClips Online tracks more than 5,000 media sources covering the following regions: U.S. Hispanic, mainstream and African American, Latin America and the Caribbean. The company also develops customized research documents.

LatinClips is a sister company of Hispanic news distribution leader Hispanic PR Wire and is 100 percent minority owned. LatinClips is a national partner of US Newswire and Black PR Wire. A live demo of the LatinClips’ Online service can be viewed at http://www.LatinClips.com. For more information please call 1.866.LAT.CLIP or (305) 971-8687.

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CONTACT:

LatinClips

Christine Clavijo-Kish

305-971-8687

La Raza Autos y Más Successfully Drives Chicago’s Hispanic Auto Consumers!

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Chicago, IL–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–April 6, 2004–La Raza Autos y Más, launched on March 5, is Chicago’s first weekly auto magazine in Spanish. The magazine provides a tremendous opportunity for clients, such as: manufacturers, dealers, insurance companies, banks and finance companies, auto parts stores, auto repairs and more. In order to present their products and services to Hispanics, Chicago’s fastest growing automotive consumer group, La Raza Autos y Más also offers readers a robust editorial environment providing vital consumer information.

“I was searching for a cost-effective medium to reach the Hispanic community and thought that I would give Autos y Más a try. The results have been outstanding and I have experienced a tremendous ROI,” said Ms. Dyanna Bernier from State Farm Insurance.

This quality product and its targeted circulation program is backed by La Raza Newspaper’s three decades of Hispanic publishing experience, thus providing advertisers with the confidence and assurance that La Raza Autos y Más is truly the fast track to Chicago’s Hispanic Market.

“Since we started advertising in Autos y Más, our inbound phone calls have increased by 30 percent as a direct result of advertising in this publication,” said Mr. Joe Rossi from RKO Auto Sales.

“In our first week of advertising in Autos y Más, sourcing the phone calls produced unbelievable activity and resulted in three vehicle sales,” said Ike Barreto, Manager of Fergus Nissan.

Enthusiasm for La Raza Autos Y Más is strong and dealers are showing outstanding support. Brian Baase, General Manager of the hot new publication, stated that his team has already secured several long term commitments from local dealers and other auto industry advertisers. He enthusiastically added, “Now, it looks like our new born fast track to Chicago’s Hispanic community has begun to show up on Detroit’s radar as well.”

La Raza Autos Y Más has been crafted to amplify the visibility of the automotive industry through editorial and advertising opportunities fortified by strategic distribution in store locales and honor boxes throughout Chicago’s Hispanic community. While Autos Y Más is highly promoted in Hispanic media, the attractive product calls attention to consumers on its own because it’s printed on glossy cover stock in full color. It also presents a clear and easy to follow design.

“It’s no wonder we have peeked everyone’s interest. With nearly 2 million Hispanics in Chicago, over 25 percent of the cars purchased this year will be by Latinos,” said Mr. Robert J. Armband, CEO of PrensAmerica Corp.

The distribution of La Raza Autos y Más is specifically targeted to reach the Hispanic auto consumer. Currently, the publication is distributed free at more than 1,300 OTC locations. “We expect to be in more than 2,000 locations by June with a projected circulation approaching 50,000 copies,” stated Pablo Rossi, Circulation Manager.

“I have been a long time resident of Chicago’s South side, and saw La Raza Autos y Mas displayed in my local supermarket. Picking up this auto guide saved me hundreds of dollars and countless hours of searching by finding just the car I was looking for at a dealership not too far away,” said Chicago resident Jerry Luna.

About PrensAmerica Corp.

PrensAmerica Corp. (PAC) was established in August of 2003, with the purchase of Rossi Publications, Inc. PAC publishes La Raza Newspaper; the award-winning Spanish language weekly which has been serving the Chicagoland Hispanic community for more than 33 years. In addition, PAC publishes La Raza Páginas Amarillas, Chicago’s leading Spanish language yellow pages, established in 1997, and the robust Latino community website – La Raza On-line. You may visit La Raza On-line at http://www.laraza.com.

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CONTACT:

Brian Baase

(773) 273 2900

Task Force Recommends That Primary Care Clinicians Screen And Counsel Adults To Prevent Misuse Of Alcohol

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Washington, DC–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – US Newswire)–Primary care clinicians should screen all adults and pregnant women for alcohol misuse and refer them for counseling if necessary, according to an updated recommendation issued today from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. The recommendation is published in the April 6 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Women who drink more than 7 drinks per week or more than 3 drinks per occasion and men who drink more than 14 drinks per week or more than 4 drinks per occasion are considered to be risky or hazardous drinkers, according to the Task Force. The term alcohol misuse includes risky drinking as well as harmful drinking, which is behavior by individuals who are experiencing physical, social, or psychological harm from alcohol but who do not meet criteria for alcohol dependence as outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition.

Alcohol misuse is strongly associated with more than 100,000 preventable deaths per year and is linked to health problems, anxiety and depression, tobacco use, disability, motor vehicle crashes, accidents, injury, social disruption, and violence. Higher levels of alcohol consumption are linked to increased cirrhosis; diseases of the central nervous system; high blood pressure; and cancers of the head and neck, digestive tract, liver, and breast. Excessive alcohol use during pregnancy can cause fetal alcohol syndrome, which can cause growth retardation, facial deformities, and central nervous system dysfunction. In the United States, alcohol abuse costs nearly $185 billion annually.

As many as one-fourth of all patients seen by primary care clinicians in some settings may be risky drinkers, according to studies reviewed by the Task Force. The Task Force noted that several clinical screening tools for alcohol-related problems are currently available for adults and pregnant women and can be found online at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s Web site http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/instable.htm.

The Task Force found that effective counseling sessions for adults identified as risky drinkers should consist of a 15-minute initial session that includes advice to reduce current drinking; feedback about current drinking patterns; explicit goal-setting, usually for moderation; assistance in achieving the goal; and followup through telephone calls, repeat visits, and repeat monitoring. Counseling sessions can be delivered in the primary care setting by one or more members of the health care team, including physicians and other health practitioners, as well as health educators and others trained in alcohol-specific counseling methods. Primary care office-level system supports such as prompts, reminders, step-by-step counseling procedures, and patient education materials are helpful, they noted.

“Effective screening and counseling using state-of-the-science tools during routine primary care visits can reduce the serious toll taken by alcohol misuse,” said Task Force chair Ned Calonge, M.D., M.P.H., who is also Chief Medical Officer and State Epidemiologist for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. “However, there is a critical need for more research to determine effective approaches to screen and counsel adolescents.”

In a separate finding, the Task Force concluded that there isn’t enough rigorous scientific evidence yet to recommend for or against screening and counseling interventions in primary care settings to curb alcohol misuse by adolescents. Although young adults aged 18-25 have the highest rates of binge and heavy drinking, the Task Force found few adequate-quality studies on interventions aimed at adolescents in the primary care setting to reduce alcohol misuse. More research is needed, they noted.

The Task Force, sponsored by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, is the leading independent panel of private-sector experts in prevention and primary care and conducts rigorous, impartial assessments of the scientific evidence for a broad range of preventive services. Its recommendations are considered the gold standard for clinical preventive services. The Task Force based its conclusions on a report from a research team led by Evelyn P. Whitlock, M.D., M.P.H., at AHRQ’s Oregon Evidence-based Practice Center, a consortium of clinicians and researchers from Oregon Health & Science University, Kaiser Permanente’s Center for Health Research, and the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

The Task Force grades the strength of the evidence from “A” (strongly recommends), “B” (recommends), “C” (no recommendation for or against), “D” (recommends against) or “I” (insufficient evidence to recommend for or against screening). The Task Force recommends screening and counseling for adults and pregnant women (a “B” recommendation). The Task Force found insufficient evidence to recommend screening and counseling of adolescents (an “I” recommendation).

Once the embargo lifts at 5:00 p.m., EDT, on Monday, April 5, the screening and counseling recommendations for alcohol and materials for clinicians will be available on the AHRQ Web site at http://www.ahrq.gov/clinic/uspstf/uspsdrin.htm. Previous Task Force recommendations, summaries of the evidence, easy-to-read fact sheets explaining the recommendations, and related materials are available from the AHRQ Publications Clearinghouse by calling (800) 358-9295 or sending an e-mail to ahrqpubs@ahrq.gov. Clinical information also is available from AHRQ’s National Guideline Clearinghouse at http://www.guideline.gov.

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CONTACT:

AHRQ Public Affairs

301-427-1399

301-427-1246

Improving Depression Care has Long-lasting Benefits for African Americans and Hispanics

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Rockville, MD–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – US Newswire)–April 5, 2004–Quality improvement programs that encouraged depressed patients to undergo standard treatments for depression (psychotherapy or antidepressant medication) and gave them and their doctors up-to-date information and resources to increase access to treatments reduced depression rates among African Americans and Hispanics 5 years after the start of the 6 to 12 month programs. The study, supported by the National Institute of Mental Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, is published in the April issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Nearly 19 million Americans suffer from a depressive disorder, and the cost in medical care and lost worker productivity is roughly $44 billion a year. Studies have shown that African American and Hispanic patients tend to have poorer quality care for depression and worse outcomes than non-Hispanic whites.

“Reducing racial and ethnic disparities in health care is an important priority across the Department of Health and Human Services,” said AHRQ’s director, Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D. “This study shows one promising approach to ensure that all Americans receive high quality mental health care services and achieve lasting improvements in depression care outcomes.”

At the start of the program, patients were randomly assigned to either standard primary care depression management or one of two programs which provided provider and patient education plus either practice therapists trained in providing Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, an effective psychotherapy for depression (QI-therapy) or specially trained nurses to help patients manage their medications (QI-meds). These special programs lasted 6 to 12 months. However, under both programs, patients could have either treatment, both treatments, or no treatment, and that choice was left up to the patients and their primary care clinicians. The study involved roughly 1,000 patients in community-based Medicaid and private managed care practices in California, Colorado, Texas, Maryland and Minnesota.

When the patients were evaluated 4 years after the programs ended, the researchers found that relative to standard care, the two special programs reduced the overall percentage of patients with a probable depressive disorder by 6.6 percentage points. The QI-therapy program reduced the percentage of African American and Hispanic patients with depression, relative to those who received standard care only, by 20.2 percentage points, but only by 1.7 percentage points for non-Hispanic whites in the same program relative to those in standard care.

The QI-therapy program brought the rate of probable depressive disorder in African American and Hispanic patients down to 35.6 percent, close to the 34.4 percent rate for non-Hispanic whites in the same program. In contrast, while the depression rate of standard care non-Hispanic white patients also reached roughly 36 percent by the end of the study, almost 56 percent of the African American and Hispanic patients who received standard care still suffered from depression. Further, both programs reduced unmet need for treatment, or the percentage of patients who were still depressed but not receiving either medication or psychotherapy 5 years later.

The study’s leader, Kenneth Wells, M.D., said, “These findings suggest that better care can have far-reaching consequences for the health and quality of life of depressed African American and Hispanic primary care patients, who otherwise are at high risk for unmet treatment needs and poor long-term health outcomes.” Dr. Wells is a senior scientist at RAND and professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the David Geffen School of Medicine and Neuropsychiatric Institute of the University of California, Los Angeles.

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which funded the initial treatment phase of the study, also supported the development of toolkits and training resources for the program. These are available through the RAND Partners in Care Web site at http://www.rand.org/health/partners.care/portweb. The National Institute of Mental Health supported the phase of the research that looked at the long-term depression rates and mental health-related quality of life.

Details are in “Five-Year Impact of Quality Improvement for Depression: Results of a Group-Level Randomized Controlled Trial,” in the April 2004 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

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CONTACT:

AHRQ Public Affairs

(301) 427-1539

(301) 427-1855

H2O Consulting Group: Many Small Businesses’ Internal Marketing Engines Stop Short of the Mark, Costing Them Millions

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CHICAGO–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–April 5, 2004–Right product + enough money = Small business success…Wrong.

“Small businesses plateau quickly, and often settle for smaller profits than what they could make,” says Melissa Iniguez, Director of Operations for Chicago’s H2O Consulting Group. “Sometimes this is from a lack of funding, but more often, it’s because many profitable small businesses cap their own potential by not having enough marketing expertise to grow beyond their current market place.”

Many new business owners take the first step by preparing their business plan. They usually overlook the crucial second step…implementing a solid marketing strategy.

“A good business plan is Part One,” Iniguez says, “but there are two parts to small business success. One is getting a lender to underwrite your start up costs, etc. That’s the business plan. Then what? You’ve invested all of this money to settle for the scraps other businesses leave behind? Most small businesses get the money, make the product, develop a service and then wait for the public to knock down their door. That doesn’t necessarily work, and learning that lesson can cost dearly. This is a position many companies find themselves in because they do not have a marketing strategy, or the marketing they have is inadequate. Point blank, the better your marketing, the more market share you can grab. The more market share, the larger your profit. We complement existing marketing strategies and add to them in a manner that shows increases where they count: at the bottom line.”

Ms. Iniguez says many H2O clients are small, minority and women-owned businesses, non-profit, and faith-based agencies, organizations that often go years without professional marketing strategies. H2O develops the plans, marketing each organization by expanding business owners’ visions through product and organizational marketplace positioning. H2O also writes grants and proposals, which Iniguez states is another means of marketing that many small businesses overlook for lack of experience.

“Business-to-business marketing is just as important as business to consumer,” says Ms. Iniguez. “Our holistic approach to business is the key to our success. We want clients to make a clear choice.”

H2O Consulting Group, Inc. is an international marketing management consultancy with over 30 years of small business and non-profit experience. H2O also assists in fostering partnering relationships among its clients. For more information, contact James McCallum, Media Relations at 877-334-6900 or view their website at http://www.h2ocg.com.

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CONTACT:

H2O Consulting Group

James McCallum, 877-334-6900

Direct from Venezuela: Salsa Sensation Oscar D’Leon and Number One Merengue Band Oro Solido to Perform for One Night Only

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LOS ANGELES–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–

ADVISORY for Saturday, April 17

Albert Torres Productions, Inc. and Salsarengue Promotions to Present First Ever Salsarengue Festival, “Salsa Meets Merengue”

WHO:

Latin Music legend Oscar D’Leon and Merengue marvels Oro Solido

WHAT:

Albert Torres Productions, Inc., in association with Salsarengue Promotions, present the first Salsarengue festvial.

WHEN:

Saturday, April 17

Doors open 8 p.m.

Tickets $35 advance; $50 at door (if available)

WHERE:

Hollywood Park Casino

3883 W. Century Blvd.

Los Angeles

Albert Torres Productions, Inc., in association with Salsarengue Promotions, will present Saturday, April 17, the first Salsarengue festival with Latin Music legend Oscar D’Leon and Merengue marvels Oro Solido at the Hollywood Park Casino located at 3883 W. Century Blvd. Doors to open at 8:00 p.m., tickets in advance $35.00, at the door $50.00 if available.

Headlining the Salsa portion of the Salsarengue festival is Oscar D’Leon, one of the most popular and inspiring Salsa performers having garnered critical acclaim and public distinction as one of the leading Latin music artists in the world. Leading off the Merengue music is Oro Solido and their 18-piece band, currently the number one Merengue group heating up the Latin music scene with their sensual sounds and vibrant rhythms. Also providing added spice to the evening are DJs Pedro Sabroso and Super DJ Robby.

Albert Torres, known as the Bill Graham of Latin Entertainment, has become one of the largest promoters of Latin entertainment internationally, constantly presenting in Los Angeles and around the world the finest and most innovative Latin entertainment events. For further information, visit http://www.alberttorresevents.com, or contact Albert Torres Productions, Inc. 310-445-9705.

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CONTACT:

For press credentials, contact:

CS Communications

Cynthia Semon

818-788-4468 ;FAX-788-4168

Manhattan on a Tank of Gas: Escape Hybrid takes on Nightmarish Traffic Jams with Clean Efficiency

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El Ford Hybrid Escape alcanzará 40 mpg en tráfico de ciudad sin sacrificar su rendimiento por aceleración ni su capacidad de carga. Disponible con tracción en las cuatro ruedas, el Escape Hybrid sera un vehículo "sin compromisos" destinado a cambiar para siempre la percepción pública de los HEV."/>

New York, NY–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–April 5, 2004–“It’s a commuter’s nightmare.” That’s the way Mary Ann Wright describes the extreme driving test that begins today for the all-new Ford Escape Hybrid. Starting in midtown Manhattan during the morning rush-hour, the Escape will be driven up, down and across the island over some of America’s most congested streets and avenues. Wright won’t stop the test until the Escape Hybrid’s gas tank is completely dry. That may take up to 36 hours of non-stop driving.

“We’ve designed the ‘Manhattan on a Tank of Gas’ drive event to see how many miles an Escape Hybrid can be driven on one tank of gas in some of the worst conditions for fuel efficiency most drivers would ever face,” says Wright, chief program engineer for the Ford Escape Hybrid.

Escape Hybrid is the world’s cleanest and most fuel-efficient sport utility. Available at the end of this summer, it combines the fuel economy and emissions benefits of a “full” hybrid with the go-anywhere capability, toughness and spaciousness of the Ford Escape, America’s favorite small SUV. Escape Hybrid is the first hybrid electric vehicle that can comfortably accommodate five adults and their gear. “No-compromise utility separates Escape Hybrid from other ‘green’ vehicles,” Wright says.

“Escape Hybrid can provide an economical solution to a problem commuters face every day – bumper-to-bumper gridlock that can bleed a normal car’s fuel tank dry,” she says. “At the same time, Ford Escape Hybrid is a practical and livable environmental solution to help address air quality problems in our cities, as well as the global warming issue.”

Making the epic Manhattan drive particularly impressive is the fact that the Escape Hybrid’s gas tank holds just 15 gallons of fuel.

“Other vehicles might start out with more fuel but they will go through it a lot more quickly,” Wright says.

An SUV that Excels in the City

The 2005 Ford Escape Hybrid is expected to be rated at between 35-40 mpg on the EPA city cycle – an improvement of at least 75 percent over the EPA city fuel economy rating of 20 mpg for the conventional V-6-powered Ford Escape, the best-selling small SUV in America. Escape Hybrid’s fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine combines with an electric drive system to deliver acceleration performance similar to that of the V-6 Escape.

While a conventionally powered vehicle burns fuel and creates emissions while idling at a red light or bogged down in stopped traffic, the Escape Hybrid’s engine shuts down at rest to conserve fuel. When the light turns green or traffic moves forward, Escape Hybrid’s 70-kilowatt traction motor generator can launch the vehicle on clean electric power. When needed, the generator can smoothly start the gasoline engine in less than 400 milliseconds, without the increased emissions produced in starting up a conventional engine. Escape Hybrid also conserves energy in stop-and-go driving by reclaiming energy during braking to charge its hybrid storage battery to be used later during acceleration.

“Near Zero” Tailpipe Emissions

Escape Hybrid is an extremely clean vehicle to operate, producing 97 percent less hydrocarbon and oxides of nitrogen emissions than vehicles that meet today’s nationwide Tier I emissions standard. That’s clean enough to qualify the 2005 Escape Hybrid for the stringent Advanced Technology Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle (AT-PZEV) standards.

Escape Hybrid achieves the AT-PZEV standards by combining an efficient powertrain with an exhaust catalyst system that is very effective at lowering smog-forming emissions.

Indeed, the Ford Escape Hybrid is as environmentally friendly as a vehicle that runs solely on electric power. That’s because a battery-electric vehicle needs to be plugged in to be recharged, and that electricity must be generated by a power plant, creating some smog-forming emissions. The Escape Hybrid, on the other hand, never needs to be plugged in. Its battery is continually recharged by an ingenious system that reclaims energy when the brakes are applied.

The Escape Hybrid also produces as little as half the amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) – a harmless gas in terms of ground-level air quality but a primary “greenhouse gas” when it drifts into the Earth’s upper atmosphere. An accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is widely believed to be producing a global warming effect. CO2 and water vapor are produced in the clean combustion of any type of carbon-based fuel, so the only effective way to reduce a vehicle’s CO2 emissions is to reduce the amount of fuel consumed. Fuel-efficient hybrid-electric vehicles can substantially reduce CO2 emissions.

Ford Motor Company and other automakers are working on long-term research projects to someday make practical hydrogen-powered vehicles that will not produce any greenhouse emissions. In addition to the Escape Hybrid, PZEV Focus and Focus Diesel being produced today, Ford has developed a Focus hydrogen internal combustion engine (H2ICE), a hydrogen hybrid research vehicle (H2RV) and a Focus Fuel Cell Vehicle (FCV) that is operating in demonstration fleets in the U.S. and Canada. Ford is the only automaker with such a full-range of production vehicles and research efforts intended to move society to a hydrogen-powered future.

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CONTACT:

Mitchell C. Johnson

(313) 598-7024 cell

Ed Lewis

(313) 333-6512 cell

Jon Harmon

(313) 492-0732 cell

Members of Congress Led by Congressional Black Caucus Available for Comment

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New York, NY–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–April 2, 2004–

Congressmen Towns (D-Brooklyn), and Meeks (D-Brooklyn), along with Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and New York Delegation, Protest Nielsen Rating System That Undercounts Minority Viewers

WHO:

MEMBERS OF CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS

— Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, (D) TX, First Vice Chair, Congressional Black Caucus

— Rep. Ed Towns, (D) NY

— Rep. Gregory Meeks, (D) NY

— Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, (D) TX

— Rep. Diane Watson, (D) CA

— Rep. Mel Watt, (D) NC

OTHER NATIONAL LAWMAKERS IN ATTENDANCE

— Rep. Eliot Engel, (D) NY

— Rep. Jose E. Serrano, (D) NY

— Rep. Hilda Solis, (D) CA

WHAT:

Washington, D.C.– Congressman Ed Towns and Congressman Gregory Meeks, Members of the New York delegation, and Members of the Congressional Black Caucus held a press conference this afternoon to announce their opposition to Nielsen Research’s April 8th rollout of local people meters (LPMs) which systematically under count minority viewers.

While Nielsen has delayed rolling out LPMs in Chicago and Los Angeles, Nielsen plans to introduce its new technology into the New York market on April 8th.

Rep. Ed Towns’ Contact:

Andrew Delia (202) 225-5936

Rep. Meeks’ Contact:

Jennifer Stewart (202) 225-3461

(lawmakers listed above can be reached through the above contacts)

–30–SS/ny*

CONTACT:

For Rep. Ed Towns:

Andrew Delia, 202-225-5936

or

For Rep. Meeks:

Jennifer Stewart, 202-225-3461

Miami’s Top Ten Places for the Dating Game

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Miami, FL–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–April 1, 2004–The AXE Effect could set in anywhere, but hooking that hottie is hard enough without the odds stacked against you. AXE wants you to know the dating game; not the guessing game.

Armed with this helpful information, guys and girls alike can get a leg up on Miami’s hook up scene.

So AXE, the world’s No. 1 deodorant bodyspray, set out to find Miami’s top ten places for the dating game. A local representative survey of men and women ages 17 to 25 was conducted online among members of the CyberPulse™ advisory panel.

Miami needn’t sing the blues with all these hot spots in which to ‘hook up.’ The top ten places in and around the city to meet new and exciting people to date are:

1. South Beach – Collins Ave.
2. Aventura Mall
3. Dadeland Mall
4. Bayfront Park – Biscayne Blvd.
5. Miami Beach
6. Dolphin Mall
7. Crobar – Washington Ave.
8. Clevelander
9. Bayside Marketplace
10. Ocean Drive

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CONTACT:
Jennifer Tudder
Diversity Solutions
Edelman Public Relations
312-240-2841
Fax: 312-240-2903

Houston’s Top Ten Places for the Dating Game

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Houston, TX—-(HISPANIC PR WIRE)—-April 1, 2004–The AXE Effect could set in anywhere, but hooking that hottie is hard enough without the odds stacked against you. AXE wants you to know the dating game; not the guessing game.

Armed with this helpful information, guys and girls alike can get a leg up on Houston’s hook up scene.

So AXE, the world’s No. 1 deodorant bodyspray, set out to find Houston’s top ten places for the dating game. A local representative survey of men and women ages 17 to 25 was conducted online among members of the CyberPulse™ advisory panel.

Houston needn’t sing the blues with all these hot spots in which to ‘hook up.’ The top ten places in and around the city to meet new and exciting people to date are:

1. Galleria – Westheimer
2. City Streets
3. Memorial Park
4. Astroworld – Six Flags
5. Richmond Ave. Strip
6. Roxy – W. Alabama St.
7. Katy Mills Mall
8. Herman Park
9. Second Baptist Church
10. Joe’s Crabshack

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CONTACT:
Jennifer Tudder
Diversity Solutions
Edelman Public Relations
312-240-2841
Fax: 312-240-2903

Press Briefing to Release Two New Reports to Help Improve Health Literacy for 90 Million Americans

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–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – USNewswire)—

ADVISORY for Thursday, April 8, 2004

WHAT:

Press briefing to discuss the findings of two new reports: an evidence review published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality at the request of the American Medical Association called Literacy and Health Outcomes and a report by the Institute of Medicine called Health Literacy: A Prescription to End Confusion. Experts will discuss the latest efforts to measure the problem of health literacy, to gauge whether Americans with lower literacy skills have worse health outcomes as a result, and to suggest possible remedies.

WHEN:

Thursday, April 8, 1:30 p.m. EST

WHERE:

Murrow Room, National Press Club, 529 14th Street, NW,

Washington, DC

WHO:

— Carolyn M. Clancy, M.D., director, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

— Harvey V. Fineberg, M.D., Ph.D., president, Institute of Medicine

— John C. Nelson, M.D., M.P.H., president-elect, American Medical Association

Note to reporters who are not based in Washington, DC: You may participate in the briefing by telephone by calling 1-888-323-2711 and using “health literacy” as the password. To guarantee a spot, please dial in by 1:15 p.m. Callers will be placed on a “listen only” status during the event, and there will be time allowed at the end of the briefing for questions. If you need additional information or would like to request an embargoed copy of the AHRQ evidence report, please call 301-427-1539. For an embargoed copy of the IOM report, please call 202-334-2138.

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CONTACT:

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality,

301-427-1855,

Web site: http://www.ahrq.gov

San Diego’s Top Ten Places for the Dating Game

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San Diego, CA–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–April 1, 2004–The AXE Effect could set in anywhere, but hooking that hottie is hard enough without the odds stacked against you. AXE wants you to know the dating game; not the guessing game.

Armed with this helpful information, guys and girls alike can get a leg up on San Diego’s hook up scene.

So AXE, the world’s No. 1 deodorant bodyspray, set out to find San Diego’s top ten places for the dating game. A local representative survey of men and women ages 17 to 25 was conducted online among members of the CyberPulse™ advisory panel.

San Diego needn’t sing the blues with all these hot spots in which to ‘hook up.’ The top ten places in and around SoCal to meet new and exciting people to date are:

1. Fashion Valley Mall
2. Pacific Beach
3. Balboa Park
4. Pacific Beach Bar & Grill
5. Horton Plaza
6. Broadway and 5th
7. SeaWorld
8. Gaslamp District
9. Mission Valley Mall
10. San Diego Zoo

–30–

CONTACT:
Jennifer Tudder
Diversity Solutions
Edelman Public Relations
312-240-2841
Fax: 312-240-2903

Dallas’s Top Ten Places for the Dating Game

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Dallas, TX–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)—April 1, 2004–The AXE Effect could set in anywhere, but hooking that hottie is hard enough without the odds stacked against you. AXE wants you to know the dating game; not the guessing game.

Armed with this helpful information, guys and girls alike can get a leg up on Dallas’ hook up scene.

So AXE, the world’s No. 1 deodorant bodyspray, set out to find Dallas’ top ten places for the dating game. A local representative survey of men and women ages 17 to 25 was conducted online among members of the CyberPulse™ advisory panel.

Dallas needn’t sing the blues with all these hot spots in which to ‘hook up.’ The top ten places in and around the city to meet new and exciting people to date are:

1. Galleria
2. Stonebriar Mall
3. Deep Ellum District
4. North Park Mall
5. Six Flags
6. Fellowship Church
7. Billy Bob’s
8. Cowboys
9. Prestonwood Baptist Church
10. Lizard Lounge

–30–

CONTACT:
Jennifer Tudder
Diversity Solutions
Edelman Public Relations
312-240-2841
Fax: 312-240-2903

Honor Earth Day, Preserve the Environment with Simple Measures at Home, Renewable Energy Programs

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Juno Beach, FL–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–April 1, 2004–Residents everywhere can honor Earth Day 2004 and make meaningful contributions to preserving our planet for the future with easy conservation measures and renewable energy programs.

Florida Power & Light, one of the nation’s premier energy providers, offers a variety of simple tips, programs and resources, including:

— Set the a/c thermostat to 78 degrees with the fan set on “auto.” For additional savings, raise your thermostat to 82 degrees or higher when you’re away from home.

— Install a programmable thermostat to adjust the temperature automatically and maximize your energy savings.

— Check or change your air conditioner filter monthly.

— If the home’s AC system doesn’t seem to be working as well as it used to, have a contractor check it. An old, inefficient unit could be doubling your cooling and heating costs.

— Adjust the water level on your washing machine to best match the load size, especially when using hot water. Always use a cold rinse.

— Online resources. Consumers can access a broad amount of valuable information and services on energy conservation, such as FPL’s Energy Advisor by clicking on “For Your Home” at http://www.FPL.com. The Energy Advisor offers:

— Easy-to-use calculators that tell you how much you’re spending to run specific appliances.

— Unbiased advice to help make the right major appliance purchase.

— Tips on how simple changes to daily habits can save you money.

“FPL is pleased to help residents conserve energy and save money,” said Bill Hamilton, vice president of customer service for FPL. “And we are especially proud to offer new ideas and programs that will protect Planet Earth far into the future.”

FPL’s Sunshine Energy(R) program — a new type of “green pricing” program that — lets customers choose to support a renewable energy option. The Sunshine Energy program is offered as a choice for those who want to support cleaner, renewable power – the electricity is generated from wind, solar and bio-energy — and reduces the use of fossil fuels.

By participating in these new programs, customers can help reduce national Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions caused by their electricity use. CO2 is a greenhouse gas that causes air pollution.

Purchasing cleaner electricity is one of the most powerful things an individual can do to reduce air pollution. By signing up for the Sunshine Energy program, an average household can avoid contributing over 10,000 pounds of CO2 emissions each year – as much as a car would produce in over 11,000 miles of driving.

For more information on energy conservation and the Sunshine Energy program, visit http://www.FPL.com.

Florida Power & Light Company is the principal subsidiary of FPL Group, Inc. (NYSE:FPL), nationally known as a high quality, efficient and customer-driven organization focused on energy-related products and services. With annual revenues of more than $9 billion and a growing presence in 26 states, FPL Group is widely recognized as one of the country’s premier power companies. Florida Power & Light Company serves more than 4 million customer accounts in Florida. FPL Energy, Inc., FPL Group’s energy-generating subsidiary, is a leader in producing electricity from clean and renewable fuels. Additional information is available on the Internet at http://www.FPL.com, http://www.FPLGroup.com and http://www.FPLEnergy.com.

Note to Editors: High-resolution logos and executive head shots are available for download at http://www.fpl.com/news/contents/logos.shtml

–30–

CONTACT:

Florida Power & Light Company, Miami

Karen Vissepo, 305/552-3888

Surgeon General Calls on Americans to Face Facts About Drinking

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Washington, DC–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–April 1, 2004–Surgeon General Richard H. Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S., today called on American adults who drink alcohol to participate in free screenings to be offered April 8 at more than 5000 sites nationwide. The “Alcohol and Your Health—Where Do You Draw the Line?” screenings are offered free as part of National Alcohol Screening Day (NASD).

“National Alcohol Screening Day can help save lives by maximizing the power of prevention. No one wants to hurt themselves or others through drinking, and a free screening provides the opportunity to learn how alcohol affects you–so that you can prevent risks from becoming tragedies,” said Dr. Carmona. “Drinking can have unintended and even tragic consequences. In the United Sates, alcohol consumption leads to more than 100,000 deaths each year from alcohol-related injuries and illnesses. As a former paramedic and nurse, and more recently a trauma surgeon and community law enforcement officer, I have seen the results of alcohol use and abuse at close range. I encourage every American who drinks alcohol to take advantage of a free screening to very quickly learn about his or her own risks.”

According to a recent Massachusetts General Hospital report, of the 108 million annual visits to U.S. emergency rooms, 7.6 million—three times the previous estimate—are alcohol-related.

“My goal is to prevent alcohol-related traffic crashes from occurring, and to reduce the risk of injury rather than continually treat the consequences,” said emergency physician Jeffrey Runge, M.D., Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. “It only takes 5 minutes for a physician to screen for alcohol abuse*, but it can make a lifetime of difference for a patient and save our society nearly $185 billion annually in health and safety costs and productivity losses.” NHTSA recently unveiled a new national strategy that focuses on alcohol screening and brief intervention, together with highly visible enforcement and prosecution and DWI courts.

Forty-one percent of traffic crashes, the leading cause of death for Americans through age 34, are alcohol-related, according to NHTSA. In 2002, 17,419 Americans died in alcohol-related traffic crashes; more than 15,000 of these involved a driver or pedestrian with a blood alcohol content of .08 grams per deciliter, the legal limit in 47 states, or higher. Compared with abstainers, drinkers—especially heavy or excessive drinkers—have higher death rates from injuries, violence, suicide, poisoning, cirrhosis, certain cancers, and possibly hemorrhagic strokes. However, because of alcohol’s apparent protective effects in some population subgroups against coronary heart disease, consequences of alcohol use must be evaluated in conjunction with its potential benefits.

Almost 49 percent of U.S. adults abstain from alcohol use or drink fewer than 12 drinks per year. About 22 percent are light or occasional drinkers, and about 29 percent—nearly 3 in 10 U.S. adults–are “risky drinkers” who regularly or occasionally exceed screening guidelines that distinguish persons at heightened risk for the medical disorders alcohol dependence (commonly called alcoholism) and alcohol abuse. Among risky drinkers are the more than 7 percent of U.S. adults—about 18 million persons—who met diagnostic criteria for alcohol disorders in 2002.**

“Drinks may be standard but drinkers are not,” according to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Director Ting-Kai Li, M.D. “Complicating the effort to distinguish individuals at risk are variations in alcohol metabolism, genetic vulnerability to certain medical conditions, and a host of other individual and lifestyle characteristics. For this reason, anyone who chooses to drink should discuss potential alcohol effects, along with family history and other health concerns, with a health care professional as part of an overall health assessment. Continuing research on the basic mechanisms of alcohol effects will enable all of us to make increasingly informed choices about drinking.”

Charles G. Curie, Administrator, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) says, “A truthful self-assessment about alcohol use may not be easy, but denial can be devastating or even deadly. NASD allows an individual to obtain a private, personal screening and, if necessary, referral for a full evaluation that will determine whether treatment is needed. Alcohol misuse can cause incredible losses: lost family and friends, lost jobs and opportunities, lost lives. Young and old, employed or in school, everyone can benefit from National Alcohol Screening Day.”

Since its 1999 inception, more than a quarter of a million individuals have participated in NASD. The number of screening sites from 2003 to 2004 has almost doubled.

NASD is a project of the nonprofit Screening for Mental Health, Inc., in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health’s NIAAA and SAMHSA, both components of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. More than 50 public and private partners, including NHTSA and the American Medical Association, also support NASD. To find a local screening site, telephone 1-800-890-2200 or visit http://www.NationalAlcoholScreeningDay.org.

For an interview with Surgeon General Carmona, telephone 202-690-6343. For an interview with Dr. Runge, telephone 202-366-9550. For interviews with NIAAA and SAMHSA spokespersons, please telephone the agency Press Offices. For alcohol research information, visit http://www.niaaa.nih.gov and for treatment and prevention resources, visit http://www.samhsa.gov.

*Helping Patients With Alcohol Problems-A Health Practitioner’s Guide (NIAAA 2004) is available at http://www.niaaa.nih.gov.

**Grant, B., Dawson, D., Stinson, F., Chou, P., Dufour, M., and Pickering, R. The 12-Month Prevalence and Trends in DSM-IV Alcohol Abuse and Dependence: United States, 1991-1992 and 2001-2002. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, July 2004 (in press).

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CONTACT:

NIAAA

Press Office: 301-443-3860

SAMHSA

Press Office: 301-443-8956

mun2 television Boasts Direct Connection with the Young Latino Market

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Miami, Florida–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–April 1, 2004–mun2 set out to conquer the young Latino market in the United States and the latest profile of mun2 viewers proves that they are succeeding and even exceeding their goal.

The latest mun2 viewer profile reflects that mun2 is attracting a young audience, with the average age being 27 years old, spanning coast to coast with 35% in the Pacific, 28% in the Southwest area and 36% in the Eastern and Central areas. This can be attributed to their original approach to programming which includes content that reflects viewers lifestyles and realities with programs such as The Roof, FuZion, SpeedLogic, Loco Comedy Jam, Adrenalina and Jamz, to name a few.

Catering to the bicultural Latino and offering programming that’s bilingual, mun2 is reaching all Latinos regardless of language preference, with 62% that are Spanish dominant and 38% that are bilingual or English dominant. Not only is the mun2 viewers’ language preference diverse, but the cable network also appeals to the young, tech-savvy viewer reflected by the fact that 40% watch the channel via satellite, and 52% own a personal PC.

“These figures prove that we are heading in the right direction, targeting a segment of the market that was previously underserved yet held enormous potential,” said Yolanda Foster, Vice President of Programming for mun2 television. “We will continue our commitment to create original content that our young viewers can truly relate to.”

mun2 television is the only cable network that targets young, U.S. Latinos by developing original programming that reflects their lifestyles. A pioneer in Latino youth programming, mun2 has been providing its audience with relevant bilingual content since its launch in October 2001. mun2 is part of NBC Cable Networks and a division of Telemundo, which is wholly-owned and operated by NBC.

Source: *Nielsen Hispanic Television Index, NHHI January 2004

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CONTACT:

Claudia Santa Cruz

305-220-8887

Don’t Count Us Out! New York City Community Leaders Call on Nielsen Media to Stop Undercounting of Minority Viewers

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MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=4606433

New York, NY–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–April 1, 2004–Today, distinguished leaders of some of New York City’s most respected African American and Latino civic organizations convened at the offices of Nielsen Media Research to announce the formation of the Don’t Count Us Out! / ¡Queremos Ser Contados! coalition to stop the company from undercounting minority viewers in New York City. The diverse assembly of organizations announced the kick-off of a grassroots campaign to educate New York City about Nielsen’s continued undercounting of minority viewers.

“Nielsen has a history of undercounting minorities–they even admitted in 2000 to undercounting Spanish-speaking households in New York City by 300,000!” said Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez, President of the Hispanic Federation. “Now this company has an opportunity to do the right thing, and they refuse. Nielsen has not acted as a responsible corporate citizen, so our community has come together and gathered here to day to tell Nielsen in unequivocal terms, “Don’t Count Us Out!”

Today’s announcement follows a week of activity in which leading Congressional, New York State and New York City lawmakers focused attention on the issue by calling on Nielsen to postpone its planned April 8th roll-out of local people meter (LPM) technology in the New York TV market:

— On Thursday, March 25th, Representatives Hilda L. Solis (CA-32), a member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Committee and John D. Dingell, Ranking Democratic Member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, sent a letter to Susan Whiting, President and Chief Executive Officer of Nielsen Media Research, expressing concern about the accuracy of Nielsen Media Research’s accounting of Latino television viewership;

— On Sunday, March 28th , Adriano Espaillat, Chair of the New York State Black, Puerto Rican and Hispanic Legislative Caucus and Peter Rivera, Chair of the New York State Puerto Rican/Hispanic Legislative Task Force led state legislators in a condemnation of Nielsen’s decision to introduce LPMs in New York City; and

— On Monday, March 29th, Hiram Monserrate, co-chair of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, and Council Speaker Gifford Miller were joined by members of the City Council to announce the introduction of a resolution calling on Nielsen to delay the introduction of LPMs in New York City until the company can ensure the fair and accurate counting of New York City’s diverse viewers.

“How ironic that Nielsen’s headquarters are located right here in New York City, and yet Nielsen has demonstrated a lack of understanding of the realities of the New York media market,” said Paul Williams, President, 100 Black Men of New York. “Since Nielsen has been unable or unwilling to learn, we are launching a broad based public education campaign so the people of New York can educate them!”

As it prepares to roll out LPMs in New York City, the nation’s largest and most ethnically diverse TV market with more than 7.3 million TV homes, Nielsen Media Research has yet to undertake a study to determine the cause of its systemic flaws in accurately tracking minority viewing. The Don’t Count Us Out/¡Queremos Ser Contados! Coalition was formed in response to Nielsen’s inaction in the face of a series of incidents in which its ratings resulted in an undercounting of minority viewers:

— In 2000, Nielsen Officials Admitted To Undercounting 300,000 Hispanic Households in New York (New York Times, 7/17/00)

— Nielsen Sued By African American Television Producer For Inaccurate and Unreliable Ratings (Electronic Media, 5/6/01)

Despite overwhelming evidence that Local People Meters (LPMs) undercount African American and Latino viewers, Nielsen Media Research previously disclosed its plan to roll out LPMs in New York. During a sample test of New York City LPMs conducted by Nielsen in February 2004, top-rated programs among African American and Latino viewers were undercounted by Local People Meters by as much as 25%. During the test, several programs experienced an unexplained drop in viewership by more than 60% compared to Nielsen’s current system.

Present at today’s launch of the Don’t Count Us Out / ¡Queremos Ser Contados! Coalition were:

— Lorraine Cortes-Vazquez, President – Hispanic Federation

— Hazel Dukes, State Chair – New York NAACP

— Alex Nogales, President & CEO – National Hispanic Media Coalition (Nat’l HQ)

— Paul Williams, President – 100 Black Men of New York

— William Burgess, Chairman, National Minority Business Council

— Rosita Romero, Executive Director – Dominican Women Development Center

— Rev. Jacques DeGraff – NYC Clergy

— Ana Lopez, Executive Director – Asociacion Benefica Father Bellini

— Norman Siegel, former Executive Director – NYC Civil Liberties Union

— Dennis De Leon, Executive Director – Latino Commission on AIDS

— Richard Willis – Mozelle Entertainment Group/Harlem Arts Alliance

— Alma Villegas, Executive Director – Musica Against Drugs, Inc.

— Suleika Cabrera-Drinane, Executive Director – Institute for the Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly

— Bertha Lewis, Executive Director – New York ACORN

— Moises Perez, Executive Director – Alianza Dominicana

— Society of the Educational Arts

— Victor Morisete-Romero, Executive Director Asociacion Comunal de Dominicanos Progresistas

— Rafael Grasso, Executive Director – Concerned Citizens of Queens

— Teatro Circulo

— Ann Marquez, Director of Communications – ASPIRA of New York

— Manny Alfaro, Executive Director – Hispanic Organization of Latin Actors (HOLA)

— Gladys Rosenblum, Executive Director –Loisaida

— Bob Law, Chairman – National Leadership Alliance

— Rosalba Rolon, Executive Director – Pregones

— Don Richards, Screen Actors Guild

“Nielsen may be a monopoly, but no corporation is above public accountability,” said Hazel Dukes, State Chair of the New York NAACP. “This coalition has formed to make sure that Nielsen no longer continues to undercount minority viewers. We want Nielsen, especially its leadership, to hear us when we say, “Don’t Count Us Out!”

Faced with similar concerns in other large cities, Nielsen has decided to delay the launch of LPMs in Los Angeles and Chicago. However, Nielsen’s planned use of LPMs in New York effective April 8th directly threatens minority-oriented television programming, employment opportunities for minority producers, directors, actors, writers, and related businesses including advertising and television production.

Calling on Nielsen to address them immediately, leaders of the Don’t Count Us Out / ¡Queremos Ser Contados! Coalition cited several troubling issues involving LPMs:

— Nielsen Media Research has itself recognized the flaws in LPM’s as evidenced by its decision to delay the introduction of LPM’s in the Los Angeles and Chicago media markets for the stated reason that these markets are extremely diverse.

— Nielsen has decided to move forward with LPMs in the New York City media market, which is equally if not more diverse than any other media market in the country.

— Nielsen’s monopoly position obligates the company to ensure that its rating system fairly and accurately records the viewing choices of all viewers, regardless of race, ethnicity or national background.

— The systemic undercounting of minority viewers by this flawed technology could result in severe consequences: Programming featuring minority entertainers could be perceived as losing significant audience share and be cancelled. Advertisers will no longer see a need to target their messages to minority consumers. The economic, social and cultural impact could be enormous.

The Don’t Count Us Out / ¡Queremos Ser Contados! Coalition seeks to educate the people of New York City on this critical issue and to encourage them to stop Nielsen from launching a flawed product that will damage New York City. Here’s how interested citizens can take action:

1) Visit http://www.dontcountusout.com to sign the

coalition’s online petition;

2) Call and/or write to Nielsen Media Research directly:

Ms. Susan Whiting

President and CEO

Nielsen Media Research

770 Broadway

New York, New York 10003

646-654-8300

3) Complain to the Federal Communications Commission by

calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (225-5322); or

4) Complain to the Federal Trade Commission by calling

1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357)

MULTIMEDIA AVAILABLE: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=4606433

–30–GK/bo*

CONTACT:

DON’T COUNT US OUT!

Ebony Shears

212-253-0266 (o) 917-753-2311(m)

or

Nickie Jurado

212-253-0266 (o) 732-648-9165(m)

Safeway’s New CoinMaster(TM) Machines Make Converting Coins into Cash Accurate, Reliable and Easier

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Pleasanton, Calif.,–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–April 1, 2004–New simple-to-use coin counting machines at Safeway stores, including Safeway, Tom Thumb, Randalls, Dominick’s, Genuardi’s, Pak ‘n Save, Vons, and Pavilions, are making it easier to turn loose change into “found money.” The CoinMaster machines, which eliminate the need to sort and wrap loose change, accurately coverts any amount of pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters into vouchers for cash within minutes.

“Our coin counting machines are installed with the consumer in mind. They are easy to use and extremely accurate.” said Brian Dowling, a spokesperson for Safeway. “We wanted to make sure that CoinMaster machines focused on the service that consumers really need – an accurate and fast count of their change, and of course, easy conversion to cash.”

The CoinMaster machines, located in over 1,275 neighborhood Safeway stores across the US, utilize technology that cleans coins to keep machines from clogging and enables the machines to accurately count coins at the rapid rate of 600 a minute. The machine quickly prints a voucher with the coin count for instant redemption at any checkout lane inside the grocery store.

“Most people underestimate the amount of change they’ve accumulated,” said Dowling, “The average user converts more than $30 in change during each transaction. That can add up.”

Loose change in this case is found cash in the consumer’s pocket. Many of the users of CoinMaster spend at least a portion of their “coins into cash” to pay for groceries or convert it into debit cards, money orders or other financial products offered at Safeway’s Customer Service centers.

Currently, CoinMaster machines are in 83 percent of the 1,580 Safeway company stores in the U.S.

Safeway

Safeway Inc. is one of the largest food and drug retailers in North America. As of the end of 2003, the company operated 1,817 stores in the Western, Southwestern, Rocky Mountain, and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States and in western Canada. In support of its stores, Safeway has an extensive network of distribution, manufacturing and food processing facilities. Safeway also holds a 49% interest in Casa Ley, S.A. de C.V., a retailer in food and general merchandise retailer in western Mexico.

–30–

CONTACT:

Smith Public Relations

Pearson Brown

310-788-0456

Safeway Launches a Safe and Convenient Way to Cash IRS Refund Checks

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Pleasanton, Calif.,–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–April 1, 2004–Safeway Inc. today announced an enhancement to its payroll check cashing service enabling customers to cash tax refund checks from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) up to $1,499.00 at their neighborhood Safeway stores, including Safeway, Tom Thumb, Randalls, Dominick’s, Genuardi’s, Pak ‘n Save, Vons and Pavilions, located throughout the U.S. The IRS check cashing program is one of many services the stores are offering at their Customer Service centers.

“The launch of Safeway’s new IRS refund check cashing program is in direct response to the needs of our customers. They want convenient access to an array of financial services including the ability to cash payroll and IRS checks,” said Brian Dowling, Safeway spokesperson. “With the IRS Refund Check Cashing Service, we are able to offer a cost-efficient, quality service to our customers.”

With other products from Safeway Customer Service centers, consumers can immediately use their refunds for money orders, money transfers or prepaid debit cards.

According to a study released in November 2003 by the Pew Hispanic Center (PHC) and the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank, approximately six million immigrants from Latin America send money (totaling about $30 billion annually) home on a regular basis. An earlier PHC study found that 35 percent of Hispanic people did not have a bank account. For these individuals, Safeway’s new IRS refund check cashing program, combined with other products from Safeway Customer Service centers, facilitates immediate use of refunds for money orders, money transfers or prepaid debit cards, and does not require a bank account.

The Hispanic population is an important part of Safeway’s customer base, Dowling explained, adding that there are many reasons that this population remains unaffiliated with banking institutions including concerns about potential language and privacy issues.

“Safeway check cashing services provide an excellent option for these under-serviced individuals and families,” said Dowling. “Our customers can now access important financial services in their neighborhood grocery store – where they know the people, share the language and cashing a check no longer requires a special trip.”

To cash checks, customers simply go to any Safeway customer service desk with their check and present identification information which Safeway keeps completely confidential. Once approved, the customer receives cash immediately. In addition, customers can use the cash for money orders, money transfers, and pre-paid debit MasterCard cards that are also available as part of Safeway’s Customer Service centers.

Safeway

Safeway Inc. is one of the largest food and drug retailers in North America. As of the end of 2003, the company operated 1,817 stores in the Western, Southwestern, Rocky Mountain, Mid-Western, and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States and in western Canada. In support of its stores, Safeway has an extensive network of distribution, manufacturing and food processing facilities. Safeway also holds a 49% interest in Casa Ley, S.A. de C.V., a retailer in food and general merchandise retailer in western Mexico.

–30—

CONTACT:

Smith Public Relations

Deborah Kazenelson-Deane

818-788-1679

Mission Foods Revolutionizes Low Carb Tortillas; New Products Stack up with Great Taste for Dieters and Non-Dieters Alike

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Irving, TX–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–April 1, 2004–In the most significant new product launch in the history of the company, Mission Foods, the makers of the world’s best selling tortillas, introduces a new line of great tasting low-carb tortillas that are substantially lower in net carbohydrates and higher in protein than regular tortillas. New Mission Low Carb Fajita Tortillas have the authentic, flavorful, fresh-baked taste of regular tortillas with only five grams of net carbs, a third of the carbs of a slice of traditional white bread.

The new products from Mission are not only geared toward the millions industry experts say are on low-carb diets, but are also perfect for the far greater number of people who are cutting back on carbs as part of a more balanced approach to healthy eating.

“Consumers are looking for food products that taste good, whether they’re dieting or not and many of the low-carb products on the market today fail to live up to the taste test,” said Asima Syed, senior vice president of marketing for Mission Foods. “Our goal was to deliver a superior product low in carbohydrates yet high on taste with exceptional flavor and versatility that fits into any diet regiment.”

Available in Soft Taco and Fajita sizes, and also in Whole Wheat versions in Fajita and Burrito sizes, the four new varieties open up a whole new world of meal options for those who don’t want to give up bread products, but are unhappy with the options available in the market today. According to Supermarket Guru, low-carb bread is the second best-selling low-carb product after protein bars.

Tortillas are quickly becoming the bread of choice for consumers. AC Nielsen reports show the tortilla category is one of the only carb categories that continue to show growth, while most high-carb categories are declining in sales. Bread sales are down .8 percent, bagels, rice and cookies are down 2.7 percent each and pasta is down 4.2 percent. On the other hand, sales of corn tortillas are up 10 percent and flour tortillas are up 3.9 percent.

Mission Low Carb Fajita Tortillas have 5 grams of net carbs each compared to 17 grams in a regular Fajita Tortilla. Mission Low Carb Wheat Fajita Tortillas have only 4 grams of net carbs each, compared to 12 grams in a Regular Wheat Fajita Tortilla. The Mission Low Carb Soft Taco has 7 grams of net carbs compared to 18 grams in a regular Soft Taco Tortilla and Mission Low Carb Whole Wheat Burrito Tortillas have 10 grams of net carbs each, compared to 31 grams in a regular Wheat Burrito Tortilla.

The new line of Mission products can be found at grocery stores and supermarkets nationwide. Consumers can find a smorgasbord of tasty and creative ideas for wrapping, rolling and serving up tortillas to satisfy even the most discriminating dieter, as well as easy entertaining ideas and sure-fire kid pleasers at http://www.missionfoods.com.

Mission Foods is the largest tortilla manufacturer in the United States. Mission markets corn and flour tortillas, tortilla chips, taco shells and tostadas for both food service and retail use. Gruma S.A. de C.V. is the parent company of Mission Foods (Gruma Corporation) and is a leading Mexican producer of corn masa flour and tortilla products. It has operations in Mexico, the United States, Central and South America, and Europe. For more information, including photos, recipes, streaming video or to request an interview, visit http://www.missionfoods.com/mission.

–30–EB/ho*

CONTACT:

Stevens/FKM, Houston

Bettie DeBruhl or Carlos Arcos

713/867-3202 or 713/867-3187

713/974-9133 (after hours)

El Tapatio Markets’ Latest Flagship Store Celebrates its One Year Anniversary with Two-Time Junior Middleweight Champion, Fernando Vargas

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–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–

ADVISORY for April 3, 2004

WHAT:

Saturday, April 3, El Tapatio Markets celebrate their one year anniversary of the latest edition to its chain in Riverside, CA. Festivities will include Oxnard’s heavy hitter, Fernando Vargas signing autographs, and mariachi performances. Coke will also be onsite with games and giveaways for the entire family.

WHO:

El Tapatio Markets will feature Fernando Vargas signing autographs from 2:00pm to 3:00pm. Mariachis will perform from 1:000pm to 2:00pm. Coke will be onsite with games and giveaways from12:00pm to 4:00pm.

WHY:

El Tapatio Markets opened its flagship store in Riverside, CA, one year ago, making it the most innovative of it stores to date with a full-functioning restaurant and the largest tortilla factory in California.

WHEN:

Saturday, April 3, 2004, from 12:00pm to 4:00pm.

WHERE:

El Tapatio Market is located at 5800 Van Buren Blvd, Riverside, CA, 92503.

DETAILS:

El Tapatio Markets are family owned and operated by the Flores family. El Tapatio Market in Riverside, CA, is their most innovative store to date with a full-functioning restaurant appropriately named, La Cocina, and the largest tortilla factory located within a supermarket in the entire state of California. The tortilla factory produces their best sellers: flour, corn tortillas and tostadas. The Flores family plans to model future stores after the one located on Van Buren. Their goal is to open two stores yearly for the next 4 years. Store hours are from 6:30am to 10:00pm daily.

CONTACT:

Julie Baez

The G3 Group

323.255.5082