Boston, MA—(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–July 10, 2007–As the state of Massachusetts implements landmark healthcare reform, plans were presented today by La Alianza Hispana, Celebra La Vida Con Salud and El Jolgorio de Massachusetts, in collaboration with Mayor Thomas Menino and the City of Boston’s Office of Arts, Tourism and Special Events, for the first annual Celebra La Vida Con Salud y Trova, the largest Latino health and cultural festival in Boston. The festival, which will be held July 15th at Boston City Hall, will provide free medical screenings, culturally competent health promotion and illness prevention information, cultural activities and musical performances from Grammy nominees.
“Boston is often seen as a hub of healthcare and I am committed to ensuring that our healthcare is accessible and available to all communities,” Mayor Menino said. “I am so pleased that the City of Boston could collaborate with La Alianza, Celebra La Vida Con Salud and El Jolgorio de Massachusetts to bring this festival to Boston City Hall Plaza so everyone can have access to healthcare information and resources.”
Massachusetts is home to 428,000 Latinos — a 49% growth from 1990 to 2000. It is also a leader in innovative health care reform with the recent passage of the landmark legislation that makes health care affordable for all.
“We’re thrilled to join La Alianza and El Jolgorio to bring the national Celebra health festival to Boston for the first time along with our lead sponsor and partner the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, led by the Office of Minority Health: Dr. Garth Graham and Dr. John Ruffin of the NIH-National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities and all participating HHS agencies,” said Carmen Ramos-Watson, Executive Director of Celebra La Vida Con Salud. “We recognize the growth of the Latino community in the Boston area and the need to provide culturally competent health information and resources to Latinos to encourage them to take preventive measures to ensure a healthier lifestyle. The Celebra festival will provide free medical screenings for all participants as well as information on HIV/AIDS, heart disease, HPV and cervical cancer, diabetes, obesity and other major illnesses disproportionately impacting Latinos.”
While Latinos represent approximately 14% of the current U.S. population, they suffer disproportionately high rates of several preventable illnesses and diseases including HIV/AIDS, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, stroke and some cancers.
— Heart disease is the number one killer of Latino men and women.
— Latinas have 5 times the AIDS rate as do white non-Latina women.
— Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among Latinas.
— The death rate from cervical cancer is 50% higher among Latinas than among non-Latina white women.
— By age 3, 26% of Latinos are obese.
“For the past eight years, La Alianza has hosted health fairs in the Roxbury community. We’re excited to broaden our efforts by partnering with Celebra and making this a city-wide event in Boston City Hall with the support of Mayor Menino.” said Janet Collazo, Executive Director of La Alianza Hispana. “Our goal is to provide all Latinos with the education and resources they need to access the health services available under the state’s universal healthcare program so we can eliminate the health disparities facing our Latino community.
As Massachusetts institutionalizes its universal health insurance program this month, with other states following its lead, Celebra La Vida Con Salud y Trova will reach the Latino community with important sessions on various health insurance plans including the Commonwealth Care Program.
The health festival educational activities will take place amidst an atmosphere infused with cultural and children’s activities including Latin Grammy nominee Ecos de Borinquen, El Grupo Rumba Caribe and local merengue, reggaeton and Spanish rock bands as well as exhibits from the Museum of Science, the New England Aquarium and the NikeGO Physical Fitness Zone.
“El Jolgorio de Massachusetts implements education through the arts,” said Esmirna Soto, President of El Jolgorio. “Music and art have always been a strong component of all aspects of Latin culture. By combining the arts with health education we can reach and teach Hispanic families in ways outside the norm. This festival is a great example of a collaborative effort in bringing together education and entertainment to benefit the health and well-being of the Hispanic community.”
Boston City Council member Felix Arroyo offered his support for the festival as well. “Generally, and particularly in the Latino community, we have not done enough to focus on preventative health and to provide the information that people need to lead a healthy lifestyle,” said City Councilor Felix Arroyo. “I congratulate La Alianza Hispana, Celebra La Vida Con Salud and El Jolgorio for this commendable effort to address this need.”
Celebra La Vida Con Salud Y Trova is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Terra.com, NikeGO, Merck, CardioChek, OraQuick Advance, the American Red Cross, The Red Sox Foundation, Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Neighborhood Health Plan, Tufts Health Plan, and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts. Arts and cultural performances are underwritten by the following: Verizon, Partners Health Care, Cambridge Health Alliance, and Mayor Thomas M. Menino’s Commission on Affairs of the Elderly.