Thursday, December 15, 2005

Nashville Latino Health Coalition forming

The Nashville Latino Health Coalition announced efforts to form a coalition to unify existing health networks and coordinate collective action:

The Nashville Latino Health Coalition (NLHC) is a new coalition that is being formed, and all interested organizations and community members are invited to be part of this coalition.

NLHC is a new broad-based, community-wide coalition focused on health of the Latino population in Nashville that expands on existing networks of agencies and institutions that serve this community, and that unifies the Latino community with these agencies in a participatory process.

The intention of forming this coalition is to build on the existing networks and advances in access to services for Latinos in Nashville, and take what we have to the next level, to affect change at the community level, through a participatory process that leads to collective action starting from the grassroots level. The vision is for NLHC to link practitioner sectors [health care, social service, public health, some non-profits] not only more strongly among various components, but also more systematically with other organizations, academic sector, and grassroots community members.

The kick-off meeting with organizations was held on November 16, 2005 at the Woodbine Community Center. In attendance were 85 people representing 43 organizations from the health care, public health, social service, government, non-profit, and university sectors that are interested in the health and well-being of the Latino community. Around 30 additional people have expressed interest in participating in NLHC but were unable to attend this meeting. The participants expressed enthusiasm for the value and need for this new coalition, in particular the intention to involve members of the grassroots Latino community.

The next step is to organize members of the grassroots Latino community to be involved in this coalition, through a community organizing campaign and capacity-building effort that will be led by the Nashville Latino Organization (Organizacion Latina de Nashville, OLN).

The proposed goals of NLHC (which may be modified once community members get involved and the coalition becomes established) are:
1. To empower and mobilize Latino community members to take collective action in area of health
2. To identify clearly the role that each agency/institution plays in serving or working with the Latino community
3. To identify continuing gaps and needs of the Latino community in the area of health
4. To develop concrete initiatives to address these gaps, in a participatory process for the direct benefit of community members

Some of the anticipated activities and outcomes of NLHC include:
- Consolidation of existing data, knowledge, experiences, best practices, etc., into one system (so that each organization/project does not have to reinvent the wheel)
- Articulation of sociocultural barriers/facilitators to health care access, adherence to recommendations, and health-promoting behaviors (e.g., health literacy, cultural beliefs/practices, communication, etc.)
- Community participatory action research to evaluate community-based interventions addressing these barriers/facilitators
- Collaborative community-level initiatives (e.g., linking health care, social service, public health, etc.)
- Enhanced infrastructure for sustained service-learning programs with students
- Improved cultural competency/relevance of health-related services
- Reviving and strengthening previous efforts focused on recruitment/mentoring/pipeline for Latino individuals to enter health care field in Nashville
- Ultimate outcome: improved health behaviors, health care, and health outcomes for Latino population

The next meeting of the NLHC will be scheduled for mid-January. If you would like to receive announcements about the coalition activities, subscribe to the NLHC listerver by sending an email to: The body of the email should have one line: subscribe nlhc

For more information, contact Pamela Hull (, 320-3005).
Pamela C. Hull, Ph.D., Associate Director, Center for Health Research, Tennessee State University, Box 9580, Nashville, TN 37209, 615-320-3005

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