Access to Affordable Quality Health Care is Top Priority of Hispanic Community Leadership

WASHINGTON --Marking the 45th Anniversary of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health (the Alliance), the Healthy Americas Institute today released a far-ranging survey of the opinions and priorities of Hispanic leadership for fostering healthy communities. The principal executive officers of 110 community-based health and human services organizations responded to the survey with those organizations representing 673 program delivery sites providing services to 3.8 million people annually.

"A key insight from the study is that surveyed Hispanic leadership sees access to quality affordable health care as the top priority for elected officials as well as employers and business sector. Leadership also expressed strong support for policies that reduce the prevalence of unhealthy foods, particularly for children, and policies that limit youth access to tobacco, particularly e-cigarettes, and that ban smoking in the workplace and multi-unit housing," said Jane L. Delgado, PhD, MS, President and CEO of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health, the nation's leading Hispanic health advocacy group.

"The study found that Hispanic community organizations surveyed are conducting formal needs assessments to ensure programs are closely aligned with the priorities of the community residents they serve. These Hispanic organizations are actively engaging a broad range of partners to meet their mission of health and well-being. It is clear that Hispanic organizations are engaged in policy change and deliver a broad range of civic engagement services to help ensure that all are a part of our national democratic experiment and help to craft the future of their communities and the nation," emphasized Dr. Delgado.

Other key findings from the study (more on the attached key findings):

Health Status: Less than one in five (18%) Hispanic serving community agency leaders surveyed reported that the health of the communities they serve is good (13%), very good (3%) or excellent (2%) with 80% saying community health status is either fair (41%) or poor (39%).

Food and Health: After access to health care, access to affordable and nutritious food was the second most frequently cited priority for healthy communities and more than two-thirds (71%) of surveyed organizations are conducting efforts such as food banks or nutrition education to achieve this priority.

Housing and Jobs: In addition to traditional public health efforts, leaders pointed to affordable housing (35%) and good jobs and healthy economy (31%) as important factors for a healthy community.

Civic Engagement: Four out of five (79%) surveyed community organization leaders reported they have a working relationship with local elected or appointed officials in carrying out their mission.

The survey was released at www.healthyamericasinstitute.org marking the 45th anniversary of the National Alliance for Hispanic Health and the future of its mission of best health for all. "This new study demonstrates the importance in Hispanic communities of broad community partnerships, policy change, and civic engagement to foster healthy communities. It provides policymakers with a new source of information to ensure the best health for all by crafting policies and programs that recognize the importance of both common interests and diversity," concluded Dr. Delgado.