In addition to the efforts of local health departments, organizations nationwide are helping the CDC boost rates of H1N1 immunization. In Phoenix, AZ, Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. (CPLC) have organized with the American Lung Association to communicate the importance of flu vaccination to the city's Latinos and other communities.
President and CEO of CPLC, Edmundo Hidalgo, was selected as one of the public personality’s for the American Lung Association’s Faces of Influenza™ campaign. National celebrities, such as Olympic medalist Kristi Yamaguchi and comedian Joy Behar, have also become involved.
Hidalgo is a familiar and recognized ambassador for Latinos in Phoenix. CPLC is the seventh largest non-profit in Arizona and is among the largest non-profit community development corporations in the United States. The organization more broadly focuses on economic development, education, housing, and social services.
“Chicanos Por La Causa is such a trusted name that people look to us for information about a wide variety of things,” said Amanda Roberson, Director of Media and Communications with CPLC. “If we stand up and say that it’s important to get the vaccine, people will pay attention.”
Roberson says CPLC tries to direct people to get information from the flu from their doctors and locate flu clinics using the Flu Clinic Locator.
Hidalgo’s lending his efforts to spread the message is all the more important given the disproportionate impact of H1N1 on members of Hispanic and other minority communities. The trend was noted both regionally and nationally last year. Between April and August 2009, half of the H1N1 children's deaths were among African-Americans and Hispanics—which does not reflect their overall population rates.