Brownsville, TX–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–September 21, 2004–Pfizer Health Solutions, in partnership with the Brownsville Community Health Center and San Felipe de Jesús Catholic Church, celebrated the first youth art program promoting healthy lifestyles through creative expression. Today, awards for the Arte para Nuestra Salud program were presented to youth in four age categories at a community celebration event attended by parents, family members, and local and community leaders. The event was held at the Lightner Student Center at the University of Texas at Brownsville campus.
The youth art program Arte para Nuestra Salud, translated as “Art for Our Health”, provides children an opportunity to promote positive health messages through their creative expression. “We have a history in this community of promoting art, health, and community. This program was a welcome addition to that chapter, as before we had emphasized music and dance”, explained Fr Mike Seifert, San Felipe de Jesús Parish Priest. The program is an extension of ongoing Cameron Park health advocacy initiatives between the Brownsville Community Health Center (BCHC) and the San Felipe de Jesús Parish communities.
Texas and Brownsville in particular have high incidences of childhood obesity among Hispanics. Rising rates of obesity in children and teens are leading to an increase in the rate of childhood and adult diabetes. The Arte para Nuestra Salud program hopes to build awareness of the benefits of daily exercise and healthy eating practices.
“Many of our children have not had the opportunity for creative expression that encourages them to fulfill their dreams and maintain healthy lifestyles. Early adoption of health practices is critical to their health. Too many people readily accept diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity as fate or diseases that they cannot prevent. Research indicates that patients benefit from prevention and intervention and we want to promote these values in our communities. We will have greater success with treatment when individuals -and the community at large- can learn to effectively self-manage their diabetes” explained Henry Imperial, M.D., BCHC Medical Director.
The Arte para Nuestra Salud program was developed in collaboration with the Community Health Initiatives (CHI) team of Pfizer Health Solutions (PHS). The CHI team works with local partners to improve the health of community residents through innovative program design, implementation and evaluation. PHS supplied the art materials and provided instruction to the children in Cameron Park. The fifty Arte para Nuestra Salud works of art will form a traveling exhibit that will be displayed in the Brownsville community and PHS’ office in Santa Monica, CA and Pfizer headquarters in New York City. Twelve artistic pieces will be featured in a calendar for 2005.
Ken Babamoto, Pfizer Health Solutions’ Amigos en Salud program director, explains “our health management programs typically help patients manage their chronic illness such as diabetes and depression. We wanted to support the Brownsville community by involving the children to promote positive health practices in a meaningful way. Through this art program, our hope is that children and their families will adopt these artistic messages of healthy living to prevent chronic conditions in their future. By partnering with the Brownsville Community Health Center and San Felipe de Jesús Catholic Church, which have a long history of serving the Hispanic community, we are striving to encourage these families to improve their overall health through the vision of their children.”
Yadira Ibarra, ten-year-old program participant who was honored for hers artwork, learned the message of healthy lifestyles leading to a healthy future. “When I grow up, I want to be a doctor. But today, I want my friends and family to take care of their health so I only treat them for a cold, not something serious.”
Created in 1995, Pfizer Health Solutions, Inc. (PHS) is the care management subsidiary of Pfizer Inc, which merges technology applications with clinical care. PHS develops and implements solutions that help achieve improvements in the quality of health care delivery and in the operating efficiencies of large physician groups, health plans, hospitals, integrated delivery systems and community organizations.
The Brownsville Community Health Center has been serving the people of Cameron County since 1956 and was formally chartered in 1978. The clinic maintains five service delivery sites and provides comprehensive health services such as pediatrics, adult medicine, obstetrics and gynecology, dental, pharmacy, laboratory, radiology, immunization, health education, social services and case management.
Dora O. Tovar