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Ten Years Later: Reflecting on the Health Policy Impact of Hurricane Katrina

Ten years ago,  Hurricane Katrina battered the Gulf Coast of the United States. The storm's surge compromised the floodwalls built to protect New Orleans from seasonal floods. The subsequent catastrophe would ultimately cost hundreds of people their lives, and effectively drown the economy of an iconic American city. The rebuilding continues to this day. Click the link above to read more.
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September 1, 2015 

In 1968, National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) was established to coincide with  the independence day of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Other countries such as Chile, Mexico, and Belize also celebrate their independence during Hispanic Heritage Month. 
Recognizing Hispanic heritage during this month-long celebration originally began  as Hispanic Heritage Week. The proclamation initiating the recognition was authorized by Congress and signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson (Pub. L. 90-498) in 1965 and later expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 (Pub. L.100-402) to cover a 30 day period. Hispanic Heritage Month is  a time to recognize the important contributions of Hispanic/Latino Americans.  Those with ancestral ties to Puerto Rico, South and Central America or the Spanish culture in general refer to themselves as Hispanic or Latino which are interchangeable terms. To further stratify among the Hispanic ethnic group and recognize the vast diversity there within, in the year 2010 the U.S. Census included the following identifiers: Mexican, Chicano, Puerto Rican and Cuban. According to the latest Census, 50.5 million people, or 16% of the U.S. population are Hispanic. In the year 2000, the Hispanic body entered in at 35.3 million of the U.S. population, that is roughly a 40% increase in a 10-year span! 
The U.S. Census Bureau, in their March 2015 report, projected that by 2060, Hispanic Americans will comprise nearly 30% of the total U.S. population. As the U.S. celebrates Hispanic heritage we must recognize the national demographic shift, reassess the usage such terms as "minority", re-evaluate our health care and immigration policies and address the increased healthcare cost among Hispanic Americans due to health disparities. Visit the National Hispanic Heritage site to learn more.
The National Council of La Raza (NCLR) originated in the 1960s during the Civil Rights Movement . In the absence of a centralized civil rights group focused on issues impacting the Hispanic community, the individual and collective contributions to such milestones as the Civil Rights Act of 1964  from Latino American groups went unrecognized. These mandates, while prolific, had little effect on frequently isolated Hispanic populations. 
During the 1960s, there were no well recognized community-based organizations, academic institutions or advocacy groups dedicated to rallying and unifying Hispanic Americans. A joint research effort funded by the Ford Foundation and pioneered by three Mexican Americans revealed the disparate conditions many Hispanic Americans were facing. The findings prompted the inception of the Southwest Council of La Raza (SWCLR), NCLR's predecessor, in 1968. Today, NCLR is the nation's largest Latino-focused advocacy organization with offices nation-wide.   NCLR improves opportunities for Hispanic Americans through its hundreds of partner organizations, research, policy analysis and education.  Read their recent Latino Jobs Report, visit the NCLR website or  join the NCLR  ACTION NETWORK  to learn more about NCLR's history and their current work
Town Highlight: 

Langley Park, MD is an unincorporated town (a locality lacking a local government structure i.e., a mayor or town/city/municipal council) located inside the capital beltway in northern Prince George's County, MD. Montgomery County boarders Langley Park to the west and College Park to the east. Over three quarters, 76%, of Langley Park residents identify as Hispanic. As an ethnic enclave in the County, Langley Park is largely segregated area with many social and economic challenges.
In a 2014 Promise Neighborhood Report Executive Director of  Casa de Maryland, Gustavo Torres, remarked that "...  Langley Park is a vibrant community with engaged families and small business, it is also a community that has been  undeserved  and under supported..."  Langley Park was selected as one of six neighborhoods in Prince George's County to receive resources that contribute to crime reduction, economic opportunities and a healthy community under the Transforming Neighborhoods Initiatives (TNI). The goal of TNI is "to improve the quality of life for neighborhood residents by proactively targeting County resources in a coordinated and intentional way."  The TNI program reflects that in the absence of a local government infrastructure, support from the county and state levels are essential to provide necessary social support services that promote thriving communities. Click the links above to learn more about the vibrant Langley Park community and the TNI program.

Ohio's first African American Congressman, a civil rights trailblazer and a key contributor to the nation's health equity movement, Congressman Louis Stokes, passed on Tuesday, August 25th 2015 at the age of 90. Congressman Stokes is most remembered for his devotion to the less fortunate. A Cleveland native, Stokes overcame adversity to become an inspiration for many. He realized the inequities plaguing low-income people of color and that he had "...beaten the system..." Stokes' own accomplishments shed light on the lack of adequate access to quality education and economic opportunity for many like him. During his 15 term, 30-year tenure as a Congressman, Stokes pioneered legislation that pertained to health disparities and social justice. NIH honored Stokes and his various accomplishments in 2013 through the dedication of the Louis Stokes Laboratories located on the National Institutes of Health campus. Congressman Stokes' legacy and his contributions to closing the health gap will continue to be a beacon of hope for many years to come. 
H PRC's Back-to-School Health Extravaganza

HPRC held its first-ever Back-to-School Health Extravaganza this past Saturday, August 29th. Guest enjoyed health screenings, complementary flu shots, free school supplies healthy refreshments, skating for children and educational talks. 
The HPRC team would like to give a special thanks to our guest speakers and all the partner organizations that helped make this event a success! 

Our partners:
  • Our parent company, CTIS, Inc.
  • The Town of Capitol Heights, special thanks to Mayor King
  • Radio One
Our speakers:
  • Dr. Angela Wakhweya, Chief of Health Policy Services and Innovation, Prince George's County Public Schools 
  • Mel Franklin, Chairman and Councilman, Prince George's County Council, District 9 
  • Deborah Archer, Project Leader and Nutrition Educator, University of Maryland Food Supplement Nutrition Education
  • Stephanie Kohout, Physical Educator, Prince George's County Public Schools and Ambassador with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation
  • Madieu Williams, Founder and CEO, The Madieu Williams Foundation and former Starter for the Cincinnati Bengals
Our exhibitors:
  • Adventist Health Care Health Equity and Wellness
  • The Capitol Heights Police Department
  • Community Outreach and Development
  • Dimensions Health
  • Fortis College
  • Greater Baden Medical Center
  • MedStar Family Choice
  • The Prince George's Child Resource Center
  • The Prince George's County Department of Parks and Recreation 
  • The Prince George's County Department of Social Services
  • Safeway Pharmacy 
  • The SPARKS Group
Upcoming Events 

WHEN: Thursday, September 10, 2015; 4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
WHERE: The Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex  8001 Sheriff Rd, Hyattsville, MD 20785

WHO:  Prince George's County Department of Parks and Recreation
WHEN: Sunday, September 20, 2015; 12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
WHERE:  7601 West Park Dr. & University Blvd. Adelphi, MD 20783
WHO: Councilman Obie Patterson's Office
WHEN: Saturday, September 26, 2015; 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
WHERE: Southern Regional Technology and Recreation Complex 7007 Bock Rd. Fort Washington, MD 20744

Please feel free to contact the HPRC Team at 301.375.2021 with any questions.

Thank you,

The Health Policy Research Consortium

HPRC, a CTIS Inc. program, is supported by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) of the National Institutes of Health under award number #1U54MD008608-01. This content does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

Health Policy Research Consortium
6401 Golden Triangle Drive, Ste. 310
Greenbelt, MD 20770
Phone: (301) 375-2021