Celebra La Vida Con Salud, National Hispanic Health Festival, Stops In Miami...

Celebra La Vida Con Salud, National Hispanic Health Festival, Stops In Miami to Address Hispanic Health Disparities;

Provides thousands of free medical screenings/ Presents new exhibit to educate Latinas about HPV & cervical cancer


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Miami, FL–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–November 30, 2007–Celebra La Vida Con Salud, the national Hispanic health education tour addressing disproportionately higher health disparities impacting the U.S. Hispanics today provided information to area Latinos about healthy lifestyles and illness prevention.

While Latinos represent approximately 14% of the current U.S. population, they suffer disproportionately high rates of 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 infection rate as do white non-Latina women.

— Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths among Latinas.

— The death rate from cervical cancer is 50% higher among Latinas than among non-Latina white women.

— By age three, 26% of Latinos are obese.

“Through the Celebra health festival, we provide prevention tools, health information and health screenings in a culturally-relevant manner that helps increase the ability of Hispanics in this community to manage disease and improve the health of their families,” said Carmen Ramos-Watson, Executive Director of Celebra La Vida Con Salud. “Our ultimate goal is to help eliminate the health disparities that exist within the Hispanic community in Miami and across the country.”

Celebra provided educational health exhibits and thousands of free medical screenings. Local health care providers and Celebra’s national sponsors are making the health festival possible, including Merck & Co., Inc., which continues its work with Celebra to promote greater awareness of HPV and cervical cancer nationally through a health festival exhibit and community outreach.

“Working with our partners to provide these services and resources where people can receive follow-up treatment, we hope to have a real impact on the health of Hispanics in Miami by helping them overcome the barriers that prevent them from receiving proper healthcare,” said Celebra executive director Carmen Ramos-Watson. During the last festival tour Celebra provided nearly 100,000 free medical screenings in 12 cities.

During the festival today, thousands of free medical screenings were provided including blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose, HIV/AIDS, asthma and mental health. The festival was held at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Miami. “Part of our mission is to continuously reach the members of the Miami community in ways that benefit their overall well-being,” said Rev. Mr. Luis Benavides, Deacon of Corpus Christi Catholic Church. “By partnering with the Celebra campaign we are able to provide very necessary health information and medical screenings that address the real health issues confronting Latinos and enable them to improve the health of their families.”

Now it its sixth year, Celebra La Vida Con Salud, is a comprehensive national health education and awareness campaign that reaches the underserved U.S. Hispanic families through its health festival tour, radio and television health education component, and on-going community outreach efforts. Private, public sector, media and community-based partners and sponsors join together to reach this important population with key health messages.

As part of its Hispanic community outreach effort to educate women about cervical cancer and human papillomavirus (HPV), Merck & Co., Inc. joined Celebra to sponsor an HPV/cervical cancer education zone.

According to one of the most comprehensive studies of HPV prevalence, recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

— One in four U.S. women ages 14 to 59 is infected with HPV (26.6%).

— Women ages 20 to 24 had the highest overall HPV prevalence in the study (44.8%).

— Cervical cancer will be diagnosed in an estimated 11,150 women this year, and about 3,670 will die from it.

“We are pleased to sponsor the disease education efforts of Celebra La Vida Con Salud. Our involvement is the continuation of Merck’s commitment to broad public education initiatives that reach women of all backgrounds in a meaningful and memorable way,” said Bev Lybrand, Vice President and General Manager, HPV Franchise, Merck Vaccines. “We hope women attending the festival will come away with a better understanding of cervical cancer and HPV, as well as feel empowered to take preventive actions. Their attention to this disease will go a long way in reducing the burden of cervical cancer.”

Other major partners of the Celebra festival include the National Institutes of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Office of Civil Rights. Nike led a children’s zone promoting physical activity through sports.

Celebra’s 2008 festival tour will begin in the spring and visit ten cities including Houston, San Antonio, New York, Chicago, Boston, San Diego, and Phoenix among others.

Celebra La Vida Con Salud, National Hispanic Health Festival, Stops In Miami to Address Hispanic Health Disparities;