Healthy and Ready for the Future – A Convening to Address Latino Children’s Oral Health in Rural America

NCLR’s Institute for Hispanic Health (IHH) recently hosted six Affiliates at a kick-off meeting for Healthy and Ready for the Future, an initiative aimed at improving the oral health of Latino children living in rural communities, especially those from migrant and seasonal farmworker families. NCLR is partnering with Affiliates that are either Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) or community-based organizations with Migrant and Seasonal Head Start (MSHS) programs. Our partners will build upon their work of linking children to a medical or dental “home”—such as primary health care or dental providers— that can provide ongoing care. Coming from California, Arizona, Texas, Florida, and Washington, the Affiliate partners have a wealth of experience serving low-income Latino children and families in rural areas.

MSHS programs provide an array of vital services to 34,000 children from migrant and seasonal farmworker families every year. FQHCs and Community Health Centers often serve as a medical and dental home for these children and strive to improve the health of underserved communities and vulnerable populations by providing access to quality care. Aside from increasing access to early oral health care for children, Healthy and Ready for the Future will launch a culturally sensitive, bilingual outreach and education campaign to boost awareness of how important it is for families to get early preventive oral health care and establish a dental home for their children.

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Ensuring Our Kids Have a Healthy Summer

On Tuesday, June 7, NCLR joined another weekly #SaludTues Twitter chat to discuss children’s health and how parents can ensure their kids stay healthy over the summer. Because students are on summer vacation, they may lack access to regular nutritious meals and the routine that the school year provides. Luckily, there are many ways parents can keep their young ones healthy throughout the hot summer months.

Below are selected highlights from our chat:

Advancing Health Equity through the Affordable Care Act

No individual, or group of people, should face discrimination, especially when it comes to something so fundamental as accessing health care. Yet for too long, this has been the case. However, with implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, not only did the law provide new opportunities to access quality, affordable health coverage, but it established new civil rights protections in health care.acasigned_new

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued the much-anticipated “Nondiscrimination in Health Programs and Activities” final rule, otherwise known as Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Section 1557 builds upon longstanding federal civil rights laws by barring discrimination based on race, color, national origin, age, disability, and sex in our health care system. It applies nondiscrimination protections to all health programs that receive federal funding. Health care plans sold through the federal health insurance marketplace are covered under this law, as are hospitals, clinics, and other health care providers. Programs like Medicaid and Medicare are all covered under this provision as well.

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Preventing Zika

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More than 500 cases of Zika have been reported in the United States already and the number is expected to rise significantly as we head into summer.

While emergency funds requested by President Obama for Zika prevention have been held up in Congressional bickering, Zika could very soon begin to have a real effect on Latino communities, which are disproportionately susceptible to the spread of Zika.

In the last few days, the White House and various members of Congress have been spreading awareness and resources to help you and your family become aware of the risk of Zika and how to prevent infection. You can also visit our website for more information and resources.
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Mamas + Masa + Folic Acid = Healthier Babies

This Mother’s Day, we want to reflect on a recent announcement by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to allow corn masa flour—the main ingredient of tortillas—to be fortified with folic acid. By fortifying a dietary staple among Latino families, corn masa manufacturers will help raise our community’s levels of this B vitamin that is essential in producing red blood cells and in making and repairing DNA. This is a major public health approach to reduce the rate of potential birth defects, such as spina bifida, among all children.

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