More than 200 attend 7th annual Strong & Healthy Latinas event

More than 200 attend 7th annual Strong & Healthy Latinas event

latina conference
Christiana Care Geneticist Zohra Ali-Khan Catts talked about the importance of knowing our family history to understand your own health risks, one of many presentations at Christiana Care’s seventh annual health conference for Hispanic women and their families.

Strong women help to build strong families.

For seven years, Hispanic women have been connected with education and resources to help keep them healthy and well through Strong & Healthy Latinas: Love Yourself, Love Your Family, a vibrant Spanish-language initiative sponsored by Christiana Care.

This year, more than 200 women, men and children attended the day-long event at Bayard Middle School on Oct. 20.

“All the community partners worked together to make this event a success for the seventh year,” said Nora Katurakes, manager of Community Health Outreach and Education at the Helen F. Graham Cancer Center at Christiana Care. “We share a common goal in our dedication to breaking down barriers so everyone can have access to the quality care they deserve.”

José Alvarenga attended for a second year, obtaining screenings and a flu shot.

“This is a tremendous resource for those who do not have health insurance,” Alvarenga said.

Breast cancer is the leading cause of death in Hispanic women, according to the American Cancer Society. Ada Santiago, a cancer survivor, talked about the importance of getting an annual mammogram.

Zohra Ali-Khan Catts, MS-CGC, a geneticist at the Graham Cancer Center and the daughter of an Indian father and an Argentinian mother, explained the need to know your family medical history, because many diseases have a genetic link. She encouraged people to maintain records of family illnesses to pass along to future generations.

Participants also learned about preventing and controlling diabetes, as well as how to recognize the signs of Alzheimer’s disease. For answers to questions that weren’t covered during the presentations, attendees could visit the Ask the Doctor table for insights on common illnesses and concerns.

Free screenings were provided to detect diseases in their earliest, most curable stage. As a result of the event, 11 women got mammograms at a mobile testing van, eight individuals were tested for HIV and 82 took advantage of a combination program that screens for cholesterol and diabetes. In addition, 90 attendees received free flu shots, and 100 had their blood pressure checked.

During an interactive session, Omar Del Río, an accountant and a volunteer advocate against domestic violence, led a discussion on recognizing the signs of abuse. He also talked about resources that are available to help women who are suffering from physical or verbal abuse.

In addition to screenings and lots of valuable information, there was a healthy dose of family fun. Attendees enjoyed lunch, as well as raffles for gift cards.

Jessica Diaz, a young woman from Mexico, said that the event made her more aware of the ways in which lifestyle choices, such as not smoking and getting regular screenings, can impact health. Community events are are worthwhile “because you get to learn a lot about these issues and their consequences,” she said.

Photo gallery: Strong & Healthy Latinas

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