National Hispanic Medical Association Physicians Join Forces With National Medical Association and Texas Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee

Jan 26, 2011, 15:28 ET from National Hispanic Medical Association

On a Call to Action

To Expand Efforts to Reduce Health Disparities in Flu Vaccinations

WASHINGTON, Jan. 26, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- 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 forum will be held at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, 2450 Holcombe Blvd. room TMC 1.3111 from 8:30-10:30 a.m.

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.  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. "The importance of this initiative with our key partners such as the Office of Minority Health, Department of Health and Human Services, Walgreens cannot be overemphasized and we are thrilled to work with NHMA on this important effort," stated Randall C. Morgan Jr. MD, MBA, Executive Director, W. Montague Cobb/NMA Health Institute.

"We hope that through this forum we can solicit the help and support of Houston 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 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.

SOURCE National Hispanic Medical Association