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VALLEY FOCUS | San Fernando

Latino Health Office Gets a Make-Over

July 25, 1998|TOM SCHULTZ

Out went the stainless steel and cold, clinical feel.

When administrators of the Latino Health Promoter Program decided to try to reach more area residents in need of low-cost or free health care, they opted to alter the program's office space too.

"It was kind of blah," program coordinator Connie Cruz said of the office at 511 Kalisher St. "We softened it up."

In came wooden furniture, a television and computer, a play area for children and pictures for the walls.

The changes accompanied recent efforts by planners to spread the word in San Fernando and surrounding neighborhoods about their mission:

Residents in search of doctor referrals, blood pressure tests, gynecological advice, information about diseases, or perhaps someone to talk to about depression or other concerns can receive these and other forms of health care at little or no cost, Cruz said.

The program has 12 "promoters" who conduct screenings or refer patients to low-cost clinics. It has primarily served parishioners from Santa Rosa and Mary Immaculate Catholic churches with monthly on-site information booths and educational forums that address a variety of health topics.

Cruz said the program, run by Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, soon will begin such efforts at St. Ferdinand and St. Didacus Catholic churches.

But administrators said they also hope to reach segments of the Latino community not affiliated with a specific church or organization.

As many as 30% of residents in the medical center's service area have no health insurance, according to hospital officials.

For more information, call (818) 365-7928.

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