06/23/05 — Coalition focuses on Hispanics

View Archive

Coalition focuses on Hispanics

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on June 23, 2005 1:45 PM

A coalition focusing on health and safety issues that affect Hispanics is seeking input from the community, say its organizers.

The Wayne County Coalition on Latino Child Health plans to hold a mini-health fair at Wal-Mart on July 3 and a public forum in September.

The coalition, which meets today at 6 p.m. at Wayne Memorial Hospital, was established through a $10,000 grant from the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Dr. Dave Tayloe of Goldsboro Pediatrics said that members of the coalition have been meeting regularly to develop plans for providing information and access to services for Hispanic families. He said the effort is in response to the growing Hispanic population in Wayne County.

Tayloe said his staff in Goldsboro and at satellite offices in Mount Olive, LaGrange, and Princeton are seeing increasing numbers of Hispanic patients.

"Even if we can get past the language barrier to some extent, we don't understand where they came from," Tayloe said. He admitted that oftentimes "we're not culturally competent because we don't know where they come from.

"It came to us that we really need to look at how we're dealing with these people."

Five areas of concern have been identified by the coalition, Tayloe said: child abuse and neglect, oral health, unplanned pregnancy, driving while impaired and obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

"There's so many small things that we can educate about that are making a difference," Tayloe said.

He said the coalition has already begun working to help Hispanic families become more aware of the problem areas. For example, he said, assessments are conducted when a baby is delivered at Wayne Memorial Hospital. New mothers are interviewed and offered parenting support and education.

The Health Department has also lent support, offering dental varnishing treatments for young children.

"We want to beef up the education in a more culturally competent way," Tayloe said, "so they understand why we're doing the varnish."

Unplanned pregnancies present another growing problem, Tayloe said. Girls whose parents are working and who have no contact with their extended families that once provided a strong value system are often unsupervised after school hours, he said.

There is a tremendous need for health education, Tayloe said, but not all schools have health centers that can respond. This problem has prompted the coalition to take a look at creating rural health centers in outlying areas.

"The federal government is making a lot of money available for community health centers," he said, noting that such facilities can be particularly important for people who are unable to afford health insurance or pay for such services.

The coalition will have several opportunities to enlist support and share its findings as the action plans are better developed, Tayloe said.

Tayloe says the coalition meets monthly in the Wayne Memorial Hospital dining room, with the next meeting to be held tonight. Dinner is at 6 p.m., followed by a brief meeting and small group discussions. Anyone interested in becoming involved is invited to attend, Tayloe said.

The coalition is also taking advantage of a weekly meeting for health care providers as a means of involving and educating those in the profession.

"ECU's Brody School of Medicine gives you credit for having these meetings," he said, "so we can bring a message to our providers through them."

On Sunday, July 3, a health information fair will be held at Wal-Mart from 1-6 p.m. The emphasis will be on encouraging activities for toddlers and providing educational materials for parents.

In September, a community forum is planned to discuss some of the coalition's findings and to hear from officials with the state Latino coalition.

Nola Claiborne, a certified lactation consultant at Goldsboro Pediatrics, is the administrator for the Latino project. She credited the Wayne County group with working hard at recognizing the Hispanic community's health issues and taking steps to respond to them.

Anyone interested in learning more about the coalition can call Ms. Claiborne at 734-4736, ext. 1019.