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August 14

La Comunidad Hispana celebrates National Health Week

To help kick off National Health Center Week, La Comunidad Hispana (LCH) hosted the National Institute of Health and the National Alliance for Hispanic Health on Aug. 10, for an evening of free vision screenings, family activities, Zumba, face painting, and a chance for visitors to share their health information that will be used to accelerate research into the health of all Americans.

The data compiled was part of the National Institute of Health’s All of Us Research Program, a traveling exhibit that is about one-tenth of the way toward achieving its goal to create a database from one million or more volunteers living in the U.S. The program will allow researchers to discover better testing; develop additional applications to encourage healthy habits; and discover more advanced forms of “precision” medicine, which takes into account factors like location, occupation and family health in order to determine a path of health tailored to each participating individual.

The All of Us Program is currently touring the U.S., and made a stop in Philadelphia last weekend.

All of Us is so important to shaping the future of health in the United States,” said Dr. Jane L. Delgado, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, the nation’s leading Hispanic health advocacy group. “This research program will bring together communities throughout the United States to drive new discoveries, which may lead to earlier disease identification, more precise treatment solutions and better health outcomes for all in the future.”

The event served as a component to LCH’s commitment to combining integrated health, behavioral and social services for the local Hispanic population, regardless of a person’s ability pay. Currently, it is southern Chester County’s only federally qualified health center.

“It is important that research includes under-represented communities so that we, as a federally qualified health center, can be better informed about best practices for patients,” said Alisa M. Jones, CEO of LCH. “Too often, the Hispanic population and other under-represented groups are left out of major research, which is a major disadvantage to the community and those that serve them.”

National Alliance for Hispanic Health is the nation’s foremost science-based source of information and a trusted, non-partisan advocate for the best health outcomes for all. The Alliance represents thousands of Hispanic health providers across the nation, providing services to more than 15 million people each year.

Despite the growth of the Hispanic population in the United States, its genetic, environmental and cultural components have never been factored into an overall health study. The All of Us Research Program aims to redirect that focus, said Edgar Gil of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health.

“Right now, medicines and treatments are based on the data, usually from white males, but maybe that treatment and that pill that was developed for that subject group may not be the right one for an Africa-American or a Native American or a person of Hispanic origins,” Gil said. “It is not that the Hispanic population is under-served, but the issue historically has been that we have never been included. They have never looked at us as a big group, and we’re not a minority anymore. We are the second-largest group of people in this country.

“That’s what we’re trying to change.”

To learn more about the All of Us Research Program, visit www.joinallofus.org.

To contact Staff Writer Richard L. Gaw, email rgaw@chestercounty.com.

Click here to view article on Chester County Press website.