Christiana Care helps to mobilize Hispanic community at Vive tu Vida

Christiana Care helps to mobilize Hispanic community at Vive tu Vida

people at Vive tu Vida event
Christiana Care sponsored La Comunidad Hispana's Vive tu Vida event, providing health education and free health screenings to attendees from the Hispanic community in Kennett Square, Pa.

Vive tu Vida means “Get up, get moving” and hundreds of people in the Kennett Square Hispanic community recently did just that, mobilizing to learn about nutrition, heart health, fitness and cancer screenings in an event that blended education with family fun.

Doctors from Christiana Care Cardiology of Southern Chester County demonstrated an echocardiogram, showing pictures of the way the heart works.

Marielena Velez, M.D., a Christiana Care family medicine resident who is bilingual, used labels on cereal boxes to teach how to evaluate the nutritional content of various brands and avoid foods that are high in fat, sugar and carbohydrates.

Reaching out to neighbors is an important part of Christiana Care’s commitment to serve people who currently don’t have adequate access to health care and preventive medicine.

“If you offer something the whole family can enjoy, you have the opportunity to educate many people,” says Nora Katurakes, manager, Community Health Outreach and Education. “At this event, we saw a family with three generations diagnosed with colon cancer.”

Joceline Valentin, an outreach and education coordinator who is bilingual, talked with women about breast cancer screenings and handed out brochures printed in Spanish. Hispanic women are 20 percent more likely to die from breast cancer than non-Hispanic white women diagnosed at the same age, often because the cancer is diagnosed at a later stage, according to the American Cancer Society.

The “Spin the Wheel” health game gave players the opportunity to learn more about staying healthy, as well as a chance to win such prizes as a gift card to a grocery store.

More than 225 people joined a walk around the lake at Anson B. Nixon Park, led by Timothy Gardner, M.D., medical director of Christiana Care’s Center for Heart & Vascular Health, and Rosa Colon-Kolacko, chief diversity officer and senior vice president, System Learning.

“It was great having so many colleagues from Christiana Care as volunteers at this event on a Saturday morning,” Dr. Gardner said. “This particular community is especially in need of health education and encouragement, and the Christiana Care team, led by our bilingual associates, made a major contribution. My thanks to all from Christiana Care who attended and especially to Rose Mili who organized the turnout by the Christiana Care team.”

Vive tu Vida was organized by La Comunidad Hispana, a health and social service agency serving the local Hispanic community. Christiana Care was Platinum Sponsor.

People also benefitted from 600 bags of healthy snacks and 400 pounds of apples distributed by the Chester County Food Bank. Fifty referrals were made for legal aid. Kids enjoyed tennis, lacrosse, pony rides and jumping on a moon bounce.

Guy Scotolati, director of exercise services at Christiana Care’s Eugene du Pont Preventive Medicine & Rehabilitation Institute, provided body mass index (BMI) screenings, along with essential information on weight management, nutrition and diabetes. Members of Christiana Care’s stroke team educated people in the community on the importance on keeping blood pressure under control to help lessen the odds of stroke.

To keep the lines of communication flowing, Christiana Care’s Diversity and Inclusion team worked to provide a Spanish interpreter at each table.

“When people speak the same language, that is one less barrier to health care,” Katurakes says.

Photo gallery: Vive tu Vida in Kennett Square, Pa.

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