Monthly Update
 
 
A growing number of foreign-born graduates of U.S. universities are staying in America to work. Learn more here.  
Casa Welcomes Cuban Delegation
 
(From left) Alejandro Palmarola, Dr. Norma Hernandez, and Casa President Jorge Riopedre  
 
Dr. Norma Monterrey Hernandez and Alejandro Palmarola of the National Botanic Garden of Cuba visited St. Louis as part of a program with the Missouri Botanical Garden. 
 
Mr. Palmarola is the president of the Cuban Botanical Society, while Dr. Hernandez is a specialist in environmental education and the pedagogy of biology.
 
While in St. Louis, the pair came to Casa de Salud to learn about our work in healthcare for immigrants.  
 
Casa thanks Dianne Johnson, Vice President of Institutional Advancement for the Missouri Botanical Garden, for arranging the visit and our exchange of ideas.  
Patient Profile
    
"Julia" was diagnosed this spring with uncontrolled Type 2 diabetes. She had a dangerously high hemoglobin a1c reading of 11.9. She went home with a prescription for Metformin, she wasn't consistent about taking it.
 
Over the summer, she came to Casa to see a diabetes educator who worked with her on identifying some of the barriers to taking her medication and working around them. For example, Julia remembered it on days she stuck to a routine, but forgot to take her medication if she had to travel and thought it wasn't safe to take on days she planned to drink alcohol. She was open to using an alarm to remind her to take medication, and decided to avoid alcohol altogether after hearing it could raise her blood sugar further.
 
The diabetes educator noted that Julia's diet was actually relatively balanced. Together they identified a few areas that could be improved, such as drinking water instead of soda with meals.
 
When Julia returned for a follow-up appointment a few months later, her A1C had dropped below 7. She reported the changes she had made were not easy, but felt they were worth it. And she attributed part of her success to her perception that her health and well-being mattered to the staff and volunteers at Casa. "If you all care so much about my health, I need to care even more."
 
       
Volunteer Spotlight

This month our Spotlight shines on one of our volunteer interpreters, Marco Moreno.  
 
Marco has dedicated a great deal of time to Casa, bringing with him a high level of professionalism and a positive attitude. Originally from El Salvador, Marco came to the United States as an international student to complete his B.S. in biology at Lindenwood University. Since graduation, he's been working at Washington University in St. Louis gaining more research experience before continuing his education. His current project is using a worm model of a human disease to develop therapeutic drugs for a protein aggregation disorder, where proteins accumulate and clump together and cause cell damage.
   

Marco Moreno    

"Volunteering as an interpreter at Casa de Salud has forced me out of my comfort bubble and made me realize that there are no valid excuses for not trying to break your routine and give at least a little help to your neighbor," Marco said. "I have great admiration for Casa's mission and for how motivated, enthusiastic and caring all the staff, providers, and volunteers are. Casa is an enormous blessing for those in the St. Louis region who may otherwise have difficulty getting access to healthcare." 
Supporting Casa
    
In addition to the primary care provided in the clinic, the referral and case management services of GUIA, and the home visits for patients managing diabetes and hypertension, we are expanding to collaborate with our partners to offer mental health services.  
 
  The Mental Health Collaborative 
 
We're doing all of this with zero taxpayer dollars. So we need your help more than ever. Please, consider a donation to Casa today. You can mail a check to our office at 3200 Chouteau Avenue, St. Louis, 63103; or you can give on line.
 
Help us help others. Make a tax deductible contribution to Casa today.
 
Watch Our Video!
 
Casa de Salud - Compassionate Path to Wellness 
 
Casa Says Hello...and Goodbye

Our last original staff member, Ana Castro, has left Casa de Salud to go with her husband, Ricky, for a new job opportunity in Los Angeles.
 
Originally from El Salvador, Ana came to St. Louis for cancer treatments. She met Casa's founder, Bob Fox, who hired her as the organization's first receptionist.
 
That was almost eight years ago. Since then, Ana's smiling face has greeted patients at the front desk when they arrive for their appointments, putting them at ease and always treating them with the utmost respect and kindness. She has been an invaluable member of our team and a big part of our success over the years.
 
Ana Castro  
 
"Casa de Salud has been part of my life for almost eight years," Ana said. "Casa has provided me with a sense of belonging to the community, allowed me to help people in need, make newcomers feel welcome and help improve their quality of life.
 
"People here have welcomed me in, uplifted me, believed in me, and made me so happy every day. It makes me sad to leave, but my happy memories will always last. It has been a true honor and blessing to be part of la gran familia of an organization as special and wonderful as Casa de Salud. Everyone at Casa is like family to me, I will miss everyone dearly and carry them in my heart forever."
 
The feeling is mutual, Ana. You were always a joy to be with, and we will miss you. All of us wish you and your family well in your new adventure.
 
~~~  
 
To bring the front desk back up to full capacity, Casa hired two new team members. The first is John Eads, who got a degree in social work at Murray State University in Kentucky and studied abroad in Chile at the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso before joining the Peace Corps as a youth development specialist in the northern highlands of Peru, primarily working in the local prison and occasionally collaborating with community health specialists. John came to St. Louis to pursue his master's in social work at Washington University and will graduate in December. He hopes to pursue a career in justice system reform. 
 
 
John Eads    
 
Joining John at the Front Desk is Antonia Rodriguez. Before taking this job, Antonia volunteered with Casa over the summer doing administrative work, most notably in streamlining our ability to facilitate optometric care.
 
Originally from Mexico City, Antonia has over 16 years of experience as an executive administrative assistant. She is excited to work at Casa de Salud, which she knows "is doing exceptional work helping people" from her time as a volunteer.  
 
 
 Antonia Rodriguez  
 
We look forward to having John and Antonia continue our tradition of providing respectful, compassionate, and efficient service to our patients.
2017 Annual Report

 
Casa de Salud's Fiscal 2017 Annual Report is now available.  Its theme is volunteers, in recognition of how essential the dedication of these men and women is for all that we do.
 
 
 
Casa welcomes Dr. Stephen Pitchford, a Family Nurse Practitioner, to our volunteer medical staff! 

 
 
Casa thanks the following providers who celebrate their anniversaries with us this month:
 
Julie Albsmeyer, PA-C - 2 Years  
Nancy Enger, ANP - 2 Years
Dori Lingle, FNP- 2 Years 
Letter from the President
       
Late last month I was in a coffee shop, using the space to complete some paperwork while enjoying a hot beverage.  
 
Three men sat down one table over from me and started talking, at a volume that made it impossible not to overhear, about the "unrest" taking place in St. Louis.
 
They took turns expressing their frustration and anger over "stupid" protesters, the "criminal element" among the marchers, and the "animals" that were blocking traffic.
 
I said nothing.
 
Of course, I internally ran through the excuses you'd expect: I was in a public space, I'd be inserting myself into a conversation I was not part of, I'd be causing a scene.
 
All excuses. And afterwards, I was - and am - ashamed of myself.
 
I decided to write about this episode as a cautionary tale. Fear is very easy to give in to and justifications for silence abound, even for those of us who are immersed in social justice work.
 
I set a very bad example, one which I will not allow to happen again. Silence in the face of attacks on the vulnerable is unacceptable. Inaction when people are demonized - be they immigrants or native born - is complicity. Our duty to our shared humanity demands we listen, speak, and act. Anything else betrays our legacy as Americans and the intertwined fates we share with all who inhabit the Earth .
 
Jorge Riopedre
President, Casa de Salud



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