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Que Pasa? : PEOPLE

August 06, 1992|MICHAEL S. ARNOLD

To Amalia Mesa-Bains, the MacArthur fellowship she won this summer is as much a recognition of the richness of her Chicano culture as of the quality of her art. "If Chicano art and culture stands as an area comparable to the major sciences (as fields of fellowship winners), to me that's the most significant part of the award," said the 49-year-old San Francisco resident, whose interpretations of traditional Chicano altars have appeared in museums in the United States and abroad. "It wasn't enough . . . (to) just make art," said Mesa-Bains, who has also devoted much of the last 20 years to educating the public about Latino culture through her writings and lectures. She will use the $295,000 award to build a studio and may fund scholarships for young Latinos in the arts.

Dr. Jorge H. Mestman, 61, has been honored by the American Diabetes Assn. for his lifelong efforts to educate Latinos about the dangers of diabetes. Although Latinos are nearly three times more likely than Anglos to suffer from diabetes, "half of these people don't know they have the disease . . . and they don't seek medical attention very often," Mestman said. Consuming less fat and getting more exercise are important steps to avoid the disease, he said. As director of the USC Center for Diabetes, Mestman gathered experts from around the world for an International Conference on Hispanic Diabetes in June. "The immediate goal (was) to make doctors aware of the importance of diabetes in our community," the Buenos Aires native said.

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