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Ibero American Action League Puts the Focus on Health

At the 45th annual luncheon of the Ibero American Action League, speakers put the focus on health.
Now that the Affordable Care Act is here, local social service agencies such as the Ibero American Action League are ramping up to help their clients sign up for health insurance. For Ibero, the mission is crucial.
The Latino community is the fastest-growing segment of the local population. But studies show Latinos receive disproportionately fewer health services. Over the years, the Ibero American Action League has worked hard to bridge this gap. At this year's annual luncheon, Dr. Elena Rios, President of the National Hispanic Medical Association, said education is crucial.
"With the obesity epidemic, with diabetes, heart disease and cancer and all the other diseases that plague our communities, latino families need to hear how they can live healthier from the community agencies and the partners that are here. I think that's the most important message."
Ibero offers regular health fairs and screenings. A nurse is on site twice a week at the senior center and 24/7 at group homes for the developmentally disabled.
Hundreds of children and families take part in the agency's tele-medicine and tele-dentistry programs, whether they have insurance or not. Ibero also offers free HIV testing for at-risk youth.
But lack of access remains a major problem for latinos.
"There are not a lot of doctors and therapists that speak the language and also some of them do not have health insurance," says Hilda Rosario Escher, President and CEO of Ibero. "The health care system is very complicated so it's very difficult for them to navigate the system."
Rochester's latino population has increased by nearly 50% since 1990. As it continues to grow so does the effort to improve health care, by eliminating one barrier to care at a time.

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