By Erin Collins, Community Services Specialist
We would like to have a larger affect and be a resource in the Latino population for those who are visually impaired or blind. There is a high incidence of diabetic retinopathy among Hispanic/Latino individuals — nearly half according to the National Eye Institute http://www.nei.nih.gov/news/statements/latinostudy.asp) — which is much higher than the general population of diabetics in the United States (1 in 12 diabetics over the age of 40 according to a 2004 study http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15078674).
To expand our reach, we recently launched the Latino Outreach Initiative program here at Vision Loss Resources. One of the first steps to better serve this population is to boost our visibility through outreach programs in nontraditional medical settings. Many Latinos do not have health insurance, so referrals are less likely to come from the large health care providers we typically work with.
To get our name out in the Latino community, we’ve partnered with the Mexican Consulate. Since many Mexican citizens seek assistance with a variety of affairs at the Mexican Consulate, including health care, their office in St. Paul has become a source of referrals for us at Vision Loss Resources. On Thursday, May 30, we staffed a booth at the Mexican Consulate in St. Paul where we shared information about our services with the Consulate’s consumers.
Thanks to Pilar de La Parra, Health Care Advocate from the Mexican Consulate in St. Paul, for working with us to connect more Latino people with Vision Loss Resources. We plan to staff another booth next month.