National Hispanic Medical Association Physicians Join Forces With National Medical Association and Office of New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Feb 22, 2011, 11:08 ET from National Hispanic Medical Association

On a Call to Action To Expand Efforts to Reduce Health Disparities in Flu Vaccinations

WASHINGTON, Feb. 22, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA), the National Medical Association (NMA), Bronx Borough President, Ruben Diaz Jr, and the Office of Mayor Michael Bloomberg will hold an Invitational Leadership Forum "Protecting All From Flu," on Friday, February 25, 2011 at the Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, 234 East 149th Street in Conference Rooms 4 & 5, in Bronx New York.  The breakfast will take place from 8:30-10:30 am.

The "Protecting All From Flu Campaign,"-HHS Demonstration Project is an effort to improve influenza vaccination rates among African Americans and Hispanics in targeted cities.  New York was selected as one of the eight cities based on historical evidence that despite tremendous efforts on the part of state and local public health departments, minorities continue to have health disparities with influenza vaccinations. "It is imperative that we join forces with the NMA, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, and with the office of Mayor Bloomberg 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 NHMA President and CEO Dr. Elena Rios.  "Moreover, this year is the first influenza season in which the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends that all Americans over six months of age get a flu vaccine."

The campaign is a public-private partnership of national, local public health, in conjunction with pharmacies, providers, community and faith-based organizations. The goal of the forum is to call on the local NMA Chapter and the Spanish American Medical/Dental Society of New York to help reduce disparities in influenza vaccination rates. US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Director Region II, Dr. Jaime Torres stated, "This campaign is very important because it will help many of our Latino and African American neighbors and families who otherwise may not be protected from the flu this season."  According to NHMA and the NMA minority physicians are very respected in their communities and have the trust and ability to help change behavior of their patients, in this case, to obtain the flu vaccine. The forum will educate physicians about interventions to increase patient flu vaccines-standing orders and reminder recall systems. Participants will also receive information on availability of free flu vaccination vouchers for uninsured and underserved patients made possible through a partnership with Walgreens pharmacies.

"I hope that through this forum we can solicit the help and support of New York leaders and local TV/Radio and Print media to help our providers successfully protect our communities by getting the flu vaccine out to their patients," stated Dr. Rios.


Key partners joining the Forum include Dr. Jaime Torres, HHS Regional Director Region II, Dr. April Velasco, HHS Regional Health Administrator Region II, Iris R. Jimenez-Hernandez, Senior Vice President, Generations+/Northern Manhattan Health Network, and  Executive Director, Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center, and leaders from the New York Department of Health and Human Services, Walgreens, and leaders from the local media and community.

SOURCE National Hispanic Medical Association