KU work group partners with Kansas City, Kan. community groups to improve Latino health

A grassroots coalition that includes the Life Span Insitute’s Work Group for Community Health and Development recently awarded its inaugural mini grants to organizations that will develop projects aimed at improving the health, fitness and access to health care among the Latino population in Kansas City, Kan. The grants went to 10 public service organizations, clinics and other entities that serve the 66101 zip code.

Submitted/Mary Margaret Simpson

Community Health and Development members pose near a garden they created. The group is part of a grassroots coalition led by the Life Span Institute that is working to help Kansas City, Kan.'s Latino population improve its health, fitness and access to health care.

The project came about as a result of an ongoing partnership between the Work Group, the KU Medical Center and El Centro Inc., which is a family-focused organization in Kansas City, Kan. Grants will be used to test a model designed to reduce the incidence of diabetes and heart disease in a demographic group where rates of these ailments are higher than in the majority population. The endeavor is part of the Work Group’s longtime efforts to improve the capacity of urban neighborhoods to solve local problems by partnering with community groups.

Made possible by funding from the NIH National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, the Latino Health for All Coalition will award $100,00 over the next five years, about $10,000 annually. Jerry Schulz, co-director of the Work Group, is project director, and Blanca Mendoza-Perez is the community mobilizer.

The first year’s projects include:

• Spanish-language translation services at a medical clinic

• Development of Spanish-language radio programs on health, healthy eating and physical activity

• A program to teach healthy meal preparation and provide community meals to those in need

• A family social activity that promotes physical activity through Latin dance

• The creation of a community garden to supply fresh produce at little or not cost to residents of the Bethel neighborhood.

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Wendy Rohleder-Sook, associate dean for student affairs, School of Law
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