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Teachers Ditch Cars, Embrace Alternative Transportation

Nearly 9 of 10 teachers wake up, get in cars, and drive solo to Arlington Public Schools every day in Arlington County, Va. (15.4% Latino). This clogs the streets and pollutes the air outside schools. So, with the student and staff populations set to rise in coming years, how could Arlington get its staff and parents to drive less, and instead use healthier transportation options like ride-sharing, walking, biking, and mass transit? They tried "transportation demand management," or TDM. TDM is the opposite of building bigger roads and parking lots. It focuses on helping people use alternatives to driving. "At its most basic level, TDM is a program of information, encouragement and incentives provided by local or regional organizations to help people know about and use all ...

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How to Rebuild Police-Community Trust by Tackling Trauma

Minorities don't trust police. Police don't trust minorities. You can see this dynamic in any viral video of police-associated violence across the nation. What is harder to see is how this "fraught relationship" impacts the mental, emotional, and behavioral health of both police officers and minorities like Latinos, according to a report. That's why a new program is taking a new approach—trauma training—to rebuild police-community trust and relationships in Newark, N.J. Why Newark? Communities rely on police departments to "protect and serve." The police, in turn, rely on community support and cooperation. But this model doesn't always work in harmony, according to RAND. Newark (34% Latino) is a prime example. In 2011, New Jersey's American Civil ...

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Latinos Get Extra Money for Buying Healthy Food

Rebeca Gonzalez can better afford healthy food thanks to the Más Fresco food stamp incentive program (via Courtney Perkes/Kaiser Health News)

Food stamp recipients who buy fruits and veggies can get up to $40 more a month to buy extra avocados, squash, and other fresh produce, thanks to a new program to help Latino and other low-income families eat healthier, Kaiser Health News reports. This "Más Fresco" ("More Fresh") program started in 2017. It's for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego counties in California. Most of the program's 1,153 participants are Latino. "For every dollar worth of food stamps enrollees spend on fresh produce in a given month, they receive a one-to-one match, up to $10, $20 or $40, which they can spend only on more fruits and vegetables," according to Kaiser Health News. Latinos Need Healthy Food Options Latino families lack ...

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Latino Nonprofit Will Give Free Rides to Doctor Appointments

People waiting at bus stop

Bus service is slow and sporadic in eastern Suffolk County, N.Y. A 15-minute drive can take two hours by bus. This makes it hard to get to a doctor for people in this 19% Latino county. Take it from Byrony Freij, a local Spanish-speaking pediatric counselor. She told Newsday that some households share one car, which is usually in use during the day. Undocumented residents avoid driving. Hours on a bus to visit a pediatrician is difficult for mothers recovering from childbirth. That's why Freij is happy to see that nonprofit Organización Latino-Americana is launching a free transportation program to help Latino and all residents get to pediatric and other doctor appointments. "It's a huge relief," Freji told Newsday. "But it’s a shame that it has to be a nonprofit that ...

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Seattle TV Station Buys $1M in Patient Debt – AND Forgives It!

If you're in the hospital, your health and your pocketbook are taking a hit. A TV station in Seattle (6.5% Latino) tried a unique way—buying debt from people's medical expenses, then forgiving it(!)—to improve the lives of locals dealing with cancer, The Hill reports. Buy why? 'Big Issues with the Bills' TV station KIRO reporter Jesse Jones – a cancer survivor himself – reported a story about a cancer patient that was struggling to pay her bills and couldn’t afford further treatments. Many Latinos face this situation. 27% of Latinos have no usual health care provider and 15% have no health insurance, according to a Salud America! research review. These Latinos often end up seeking routine healthcare in the emergency room, which can be very costly. After his ...

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Attention, Ladies: This Latina Researcher Wants to Save You

Bertha Hidalgo

"I didn’t know eating McDonald’s every day would hurt my triglyceride levels." Sadly, this is something Bertha Hidalgo heard when she talked to friends and family about heart disease. Simply put, many women had no idea. Not just about the details of Bertha's studies, such as a recent American Heart Association (AHA) report she helped author about disparities in treatment of heart disease and stroke. They didn’t even understand many of the basics about awareness, prevention, and treatment. “Their lack of certainty with some of these health topics means we’re not doing a good enough job as scientists and physicians to get the message out to the people who need it," Bertha told American Heart Association News. For example, do you know the answer to these ...

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Air to Breathe: Helping Latino Families Fight Asthma

Did you know Latino kids are twice as likely to die from asthma than their peers? More than 1 in 10 U.S. Latino kids have been told they have asthma. These kids struggle with this incurable lung disease that causes recurring periods of wheezing, chest tightness, coughing, shortness of breath, and can result in missed days of school or emotional and physical stress. Why is this? Poverty plays a big role, but it's more than that, said Genny Carrillo of Texas A&M, who studies the disease. "Possibly due to more limited access to health insurance and health care providers and higher presence of environmental triggers such as pollution, dust and mold," Carrillo said. There is good news. A person with asthma can live and sleep without interruptions with proper ...

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How a Mostly White Town Is Supporting Latino Health

food shopping grocery store

Amherst, Mass., is a 73% white city. But with an emerging Latino population that includes about 1 in 5 Spanish-speaking families with kids in public schools, city leaders are ramping up to meet Latino needs, reports. They're even setting aside $54,000 to create a Latino community food program. "When we look at food access (it) is a real issue," Julie Federman, the city's health director, told "Getting to a grocery store, getting to an affordable grocery store can be really challenging." U.S. Latinos face a big lack of access to support for economic stability, wellness, and education. Latino children often fall behind in school, and social and physical development, according to a Salud America! research review. Latinos especially lack access to ...

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McDonald’s to Scrap Cheeseburgers from Happy Meals

McDonald's via istock

McDonald’s is removing cheeseburgers, shrinking French fry portions, and making chocolate milk less sugary in U.S. Happy Meals, in an effort to make its children's food more healthy, Reuters reports. The food company, first the first time, will set global limits for calories, sodium, saturated fat and added sugar in Happy Meals. The new standards will be implemented by June 2018. This is certainly a positive step. But it also begs the question: Can a Happy Meal really ever be healthy? This is an especially important question for Latino families. They tend to live in neighborhoods where fast food restaurants far outrank options for health food, according to a Salud America! research review. "Taken together, the changes do not transform burgers or chicken nuggets into ...

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