DALLAS, TX – The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15 – Oct. 15) by recognizing Hispanic leaders who have made contributions to improving the health and well-being of multicultural communities.
Cuban-American, Alexander P. Almazan, attorney and founder of Alexander P. Almazan, PA, a Miami law firm, chaired the association’s Diversity Leadership Committee (2012-2015). He is an EmPowered To Serve Ambassador, helping to create a culture of health in multicultural communities; EmPowered To Serve is a movement driving health transformation in communities for improved health outcomes. He also lends his voice to advocacy and education initiatives, as well as other projects including the Association’s Go Red Por Tu Corazón, a cause established to break barriers against heart disease and stroke among Latinas and meet their unique needs.
Dr. Lucy Guzman, associate pastor at Living Hope Church and Empowerment Center in Trenton, NJ is a Health Ministry Lead for an EmPowered To Serve Faith foundational site. She was a panelist at the 2013 Inaugural EmPowered To Serve Faith Based Roundtable and on-going contributor and beta-tester for EmPowered To Serve Faith resources and tools. Through her engagement with EmPowered To Serve, a mega-community where diverse individuals, companies and organizations unite to learn and support one another in building a sustainable culture of health in diverse communities. She is transforming her church community into a healthier environment.
Native Uruguayan, Dr. Jose Biller, M.D., professor of Neurology and Neurological Surgery at the Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and chairperson of neurology at Loyola University Health System, based in Maywood, Ill., is chief editor of the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Diseases, and editorial board member and reviewer for an array of other national and international journals and publications. As spokesperson/volunteer for the American Stroke Association, Dr. Biller participates in media tours, educational videos and ongoing national media efforts to generate stroke awareness among Hispanic audiences.
Pegui Maridueña, CMC, MBA, whose family is from South America, is President of StarMar Consulting in Alpharetta, Georgia. Her five year volunteer journey with the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association includes Greater Southeast Affiliate (GSA) Board of Director, advisor for multicultural inclusiveness and relevance in marketing campaigns, including the Life is Why branding platform, among other efforts in the national Communications Coordinating Committee, Strategic Planning Task Force and Go Red for Women Task Force. Go Red for Women is an initiative designed to empower women to take charge of their heart health.
“As we celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, we express gratitude to all four of these outstanding leaders for the difference they are making to improve patient outcomes and build risk factor awareness in minority and underserved communities. We are inspired by the example they set every day and their unwavering dedication as champions of multicultural health,” said Nancy Brown, chief executive officer at the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
While great advancements have been made, the work is not done. Distrust of law enforcement, language barriers, lack of awareness and financial concerns are the major barriers keeping many Latinos and others from calling 9-1-1 for help during a heart or stroke emergency. In fact, Hispanic women are less likely than others to know the warning signs of a heart attack or stroke, and Hispanic men are the least likely to use emergency medical services transport (EMS), which are primary factors in increasing survival rates.
Through the American Heart Association’s scientific research, the EmPowered To Servemovement and the efforts of passionate volunteers, Latinos – the largest growing population in the U.S. at 54 million — have better access to culturally-relevant resources to prevent heart disease and stroke and are positively impacting health outcomes in their communities for generations and celebrations to come.
“Anyone can create measurable change in their community. Through EmPowered To Serve, communities have access to shared resources, including health lessons and community health assessment tools. Using these resources, people can learn how to take small steps that lead to big changes in healthy living behaviors, healthy living options and impacting heart disease and stroke prevention rates in their communities,” said Gerald E. Johnson, II, chief diversity and inclusion officer, senior vice president of marketing at the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association.
For resources and tools to make a measurable impact on the health of your community, visit EmPoweredToServe.org.