Legislators, Radio Executives, and Leading Hispanic Advocates Examine Social Determinants of Health in US Latino communities


Hispanic Communications Network hosted political, government, and community leaders, together with senior media executives of major Spanish-language radio networks, at the first National Hispanic Media Retreat in Washington, DC. The unprecedented 3-day conference focused on analyzing core social determinants affecting the health of US Hispanic communities and promoting positive changes that will enable Latino families to live the healthiest life possible.

Centering on the theme “Building a Culture of Health”, HCN/La Red Hispana held its first national Hispanic Media Retreat November 11-14, 2019 at the United States Capitol and the National Press Building. Notable political appointees and elected officials attending include the Mexican Ambassador to the US Martha Bárcena, US Senator Bob Menéndez (D-NJ), and US Representatives Jesús “Chuy” García (D-IL), Nannette Barragán (D-CA) and Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA).

“Economic and social factors such as income, housing and education affect our health, regardless of the decisions we make as individuals. Bringing together people who have positions of national influence in Congress, the federal government, Hispanic advocacy organizations, direct service providers and the media, allows us to unite our efforts, share experiences and ideas to motivate positive changes that can lead to greater health equity for Spanish-speaking communities in the US,” said CEO of HCN/La Red Hispana, Alison Rodden.

Participation among representatives of federal agencies included HRSA Deputy Administrator, Diana Espinosa, USDA SNAP Deputy Administrator, Jessica HCN_LaRedHispana_USCapitol_11_19Shahin, National Institutes of Health (NIH) Director of the All of Us Research Program Participant Center, Ed Ramos, and USDA Forest Service Fire & Aviation Management Assistant Director, Frank GuzmánThe main research expert on social determinants of health was Justin Rivas, Community Network Specialist and Expert on the County Health Rankings and Roadmaps Report, a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

Representatives of Hispanic-serving organizations focused on social determinants of health — including civic participation via the 2020 Census and elections — were League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) CEO, Sindy Benavides, UnidosUS Deputy Vice President of Health, Rita Carreón, Mi Familia Vota Executive Director, Héctor Sánchez, and Mary’s Center Founder and CEO, María Gómez, winner of the 2019 Health Equity Award by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Hispanics in Philanthropy.

Among Spanish-language media executives, representatives from iHeartmedia, Univision, Actualidad Media, Aerostar Media, Norsan Media, Lazer Broadcasting, Spanish Broadcasting Systems (SBS), Liberman Broadcasting and Entravisión, participated on behalf of the most prominent networks and radio stations reaching Spanish-speaking communities throughout the US.

Media Retreat participants had the opportunity to visit the Mexican consulate in Washington DC, where they learned first-hand about the successful Ventanillas de Salud program that serves millions of Mexicans in the United States, as well as direct service providers Mary’s Center and the Latin American Youth Center in Washington, DC.