Walnut Creek Health Fest
Members of the the United States Hispanic Contractors Association (USHCA) know that in order to keep our equipment working properly we must care for our equipment and service items before problems arise. We schedule time to do these things so that we have what we need to keep doing our jobs well and for long into the future. However, too many of us neglect to maintain our most important piece of equipment—ourselves. We each need a healthy body and mind to function at our best, with more focus and ease. We must make taking care of our health a top priority to perform at our best for many years to come. To make it easier for our membership and the greater Hispanic community to take care of their health needs, the USHCA is launching a new initiative that focuses on health equity.
Through our work to provide personal protective equipment and COVID-19 testing during the initial stages of the pandemic and later to provide vaccines against the virus, the USHCA gained an understanding about how we can help our community within the healthcare arena. We established broader relationships and earned increased recognition throughout the Hispanic Community as an organization people can trust. We gained access to health experts and learned about health resources that we can utilize to help serve our community. Since that time, the USHCA leadership has gained inspiration and confidence that this organization has the ability to make further efforts to promote health equity for all within the Hispanic community in Austin.
On September 10, 2022, in partnership with Ventanilla De Salud, American Kidney Foundation, Austin Police Association, and Migrant Communication Network, the USHCA hosted its first public health fair. We are proud to say it was a success! Attendees were able to have a variety of tests run free-of-charge and to speak with experts if cause for concern arose. Testing included vision, blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol, and kidney function. Also, a number of vaccines were offered, focusing on required vaccinations for school aged children as well as vaccines frequently needed in adults so that our families can be sure they are up to date on their vaccinations.
To connect families with long term health resources, on site were representatives from Medicaid, Lone Star Circle of Care, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Special Supplemental Program for Women Infants and Children (WIC), and Central Health Medical Access Program (MAP), who were there to discuss qualifications for their programs with interested individuals and walk people through the process of signing up.
Additional participating organizations are too numerous to list, but also included health insurance representatives and mental health resource centers, and information relating to domestic violence, lactation, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and school scholarships.
Our generous sponsors helped us to get the children at the fair excited by giving them the chance to win a new bike. With the assistance of members from the Austin Police Department (APD), who love to show their support for our community through civic engagement, we raffled off bikes to a crowd of beaming kids. A big thank you to our sponsors for making that possible. Our partners included the National Kidney Foundation, Superior Health Plan, Blue Cross Blue Shields, Dell’s Children Health Plan, Lions Club, Migrant Clinicians Network, and Ventanilla de Salud.
The Hispanic community faces a number of health disparities, which include higher rates of undiagnosed or poorly managed illness due to cost of testing and medication. We were thrilled at the variety of organizations that worked with us to help provide so many valuable resources to our community. We hope to expand the kinds of testing offered at future health fairs to include more screenings for issues that occur with higher frequency within the Hispanic community. The USHCA plans to continue to form relationships with health authorities who will give us further access to the kinds of testing most needed within our communities. Be sure to come check out our next event. Stay tuned for updates about our future health fairs!