Improving Health Equity for Hispanics

HHCGA and Emory University Team Up for Rapid Community Health Assessment

December 11, 2022

Improving Health Outcomes for the Hispanic/Latino Community in Northeast Georgia

 The Hispanic Health Coalition of Georgia (HHCGA) partnered with the Community Health Assessment (CHA) course from the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University for a Rapid Assessment project which directly speaks to the effectiveness of current health strategies for our Hispanic/Latino community.

ATLANTA, Dec. 11, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University -- A Rapid Community Health Assessment (RCHA) of Hispanic/Latin population in northeast Georgia was conducted by five Emory University Master of Public Health students under the direction of the HHCGA and faculty of the Rollins School of Public Health. Chloe Billstrom, Mia Carvalho Guimaraes, Emma Halper, Chloe Hultman and Vanessa Orduna Zarazua were assigned as health assessors based on criteria that included their Spanish speaking capacity, interest, and experience in the subject matter. Claudia E. Ordóñez, Adjunct Assistant Professor at Rollins School of Public Health and the faculty member teaching the CHA course and guiding the RCHA project, began the RCHA findings presentation by welcoming community partners, guests and students and expressing her appreciation of the partnership with the HHCGA, and the hard work of the assessment team as part of this partnership. Prof. Ordóñez made this

important statement, "Ongoing efforts to improve and facilitate better health outcomes in the Hispanic/Latin community highlighted the need for health care providers and programs to have relevant and accurate knowledge of the community's health needs and assets at a hyperlocal level, while supporting efforts for greater community awareness of health services available. By implementing the rapid health assessment we gained important insights through community members responses, as captured by the Rollins team. We are eager to hear the suggested actions for improvements based on the team's conclusions and recommendations."

The Rollins students involved in this project expressed their sense of genuine passion and pride associated with the participatory strategy and plan for conducting the assessment. The project included embedding with the HHCGA's team, which is comprised of HHCGA's health promotores, medical students, nursing students, pharmacy students, and dentists in the field at multiple Feria de Salud venues throughout the State of Georgia focusing on rural and underserved populations. The RCHA project was conducted over three months and involved more than ninety completed surveys among members of the Hispanic/Latin in northeast Georgia to augment and verify the mission and understanding of the HHCGA.

Survey participants were asked specific questions designed to yield both quantitative and qualitative data regarding prevalence of chronic diseases, comorbidities, vaccinations, and ability to access health services in order to identify factors that contribute to difficulties and reluctance to seek healthcare. The Rollins students identified specific Social Determinants of Health which are affecting our Hispanic/Latin community and possible inaccuracies of publicly reported rates of chronic diseases, such as diabetes and cancer versus the reality of our impacted community.

The impactive efforts of both the Emory and HHCGA teams as partner stakeholders will be disseminated through a comprehensive report documenting the health assessment process, findings, and resulting recommendations. Shirley E. "Bella" Borghi, Executive Director and Vice Chairman of the HHCGA stated, "The HHCGA values strategic partnership with the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. This project further validates the need for and importance of working together and ensuring full stakeholder participation in the quest to achieve better health outcomes for the community we serve. To that end, I must thank Prof. Ordóñez and the entire Emory student team for completing what can only be described as an extraordinary assessment at the base level among the people directly impacted by the services which the HHCGA provides and will utilize for future mission planning."

Furthermore, J. Santiago Ramon the HHCGA's Community Outreach Engagement Director whom was instrumental to the RCHA assessment project. "It is critically important for the mission of the HHCGA that we target the communities most underserved with the needed services, which means to get the message of available help to said communities. The many impactive issues which affect were carefully considered for this project that directly impacts our mission and will provide further credibility to the HHCGA's current and future efforts."

About the HHCGA

The HHCGA, a 33-year-old non-profit, and is Georgia's only statewide organization focused on Hispanic/Latino Chronic Disease prevention and better health outcomes. It identifies needs and service gaps leading to health disparities for Georgia Hispanics and offers direct community services and supportive activities to improve the health of Georgia Latinos. As an expert in community health promotion, education, policy and health advocacy, HHCGA creates high-quality, culturally sensitive, and linguistically appropriate health care and prevention services for their community. Visit at

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Ossie Williams
Director of Communications/PR

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