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Latino Daily News

Thursday January 27, 2011

National Hispanic Medical Assocation Expands Efforts to Encourage Flu Shots with Key Partners

The National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) will join the National Medical Association (NMA) and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) in Houston, Texas, Monday, January 31st to kick off a series of Invitational Leadership Forums to be held across the country to support the “Protecting All From Flu” campaign. 

The “Protecting All From Flu Campaign,” is an effort to improve influenza vaccination rates among African Americans and Hispanics in targeted cities.  Houston was selected as one of the eight cities based on historical evidence of vaccination disparities and availability of provider networks.  “It is imperative that we join forces with the NHMA and the NMA to promote health care provider awareness regarding low vaccination rates among racial and ethnic minorities and to facilitate health care provider strategies needed to increase seasonal influenza vaccinations in targeted populations,” commented Sheila Jackson Lee.  “I am committed to working with the NHMA and NMA as well as their partners to better educate Houstonians about how they can better protect themselves and their families from the flu.”

The campaign is a public-private partnership of national, local public health, in conjunction with pharmacies, providers, community and faith-based organizations.  “Minority physicians are respected in our communities and have the trust and ability to help change behavior of their patients, in this case to obtain the flu vaccine,” stated NHMA’s President and CEO Dr. Elena Rios.

The goal of the forum is to bring national attention to this issue and to begin to promote health care provider education and strategies needed to increase seasonal influenza vaccination in minority communities.  Participants also will receive information on availability of free flu vaccination vouchers for the uninsured and underserved made possible through a partnership with Walgreens.

Key participants will include Associate Director for Research and Policy, HHS Office of Minority Health, Dr. Jamila Rashid, Regional Health Administrator, Dr. Epi Elizondo, Founding Dean of Texas A&M University, Rural School of Public Health, Ciro Sumaya, MD, MPHTM, Decrecia Robinson and Porfirio Villareal representing the Houston Department of Health & Human Services, Roy Armstrong representing Walgreens, Dr. Lovell Jones, MD representing MD Anderson Cancer Center.