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People We Love :: America Bracho

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Health Care By and For the People

When Dr. America Bracho began working with the Latino community in Orange County, California, she made a disturbing discovery. Children were suffering from obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other preventable conditions, and their families lacked the information and programs that could keep them healthy.

As a native of Venezuela, Bracho was familiar with participatory health care models widely used in Latin America to teach preventative health. She took these models as her inspiration and founded Latino Health Access, which recruits and trains community members to act as health educators, known as promotores. These educators lead programs on asthma prevention, diabetes, and healthy eating.

Over the past 15 years, the promotores have reached out to thousands—many of them low-income, uninsured, Spanish-speaking families—helping them overcome obesity and prevent, manage, and get treatment for illnesses.

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Kim Nochi wrote this article as part of Food for Everyone, the Spring 2009 issue of YES! Magazine. Kim was an editorial intern at YES! Magazine during the production of the issue. Kim Nochi
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