Hispanics Need Wellness Education With a Twist

Aideé Granados, Founder of Rosa Es Rojo

Closed Caption Transcript:

I am the third generation of my family
to be diagnosed with cancer.

My grandmother first,

then my mother, my father, even
my stepmom all passed away because of it.

And seven years ago,
it's going to be eight years ago,

I got the news of my stage 3A breast cancer.

Having health insurance,
family support and higher education

and being bilingual were not
enough to protect me from cancer.

I am Aidee Granados,

founder and CEO of Rosa Es Rojo,
a non-profit making wellness and cancer

prevention a reality for the high risk
cancer population of Hispanic women.

Our mission in Rosa Es Rojo 
is to educate them

the Hispanic women
on the topics of nutrition,

physical activity,
emotional health and positive thinking

using Spanish and culturally relevant
content as part of our social innovation.

What, why cancer?

Maybe we are asking why
cancer and cancer prevention?

While cancer is the leading cause of death

among Latinos in this country.
And according to American Cancer Society,

one in three Latino women living
in the states in this country will be

diagnosed with cancer today that are
almost 60 million Latinos in the US.

Forty eight percent of them are women,

which means at least nine million
Latinas are at risk because of cancer.

And let me tell you this.

My very own daughter is
part of this statistic.

She Hispanic. She's living in the states.

What can we do to ensure that she

and young women like her don't inherit
this part of my family's legacy?

Well, research shows that at least

42 percent of all cancer cases have
roots in an unhealthy lifestyle.

What does that mean?

Unhealthy lifestyle, like poor diet,
obesity, tobacco and alcohol use.

Of course, is chronic stress.

And making wellness education,

it is a vital part for prevention,
of preventing cancer.

Cancer awareness organizations today need
to invest much more in wellness education.

Build social capital and lobby
for accessible medical attention

and insurance options
for the Latino community.

We are getting sick

not only because we don't have enough
economic resources,

but because there is a lack of wellness,
education and social capital among us.

According to American Cancer Society,

uninsured patients and those

from minorities are more likely to be
diagnosed with cancer at a later stage

when we know treatment can be more
expensive, costlier and less successful.

We have seen that once Latinas
are diagnosed with cancer,

most of them, they are not empowered
enough to financially support

the cost of treatments and 
there is spillover effects. 

For every dollar a white person earns,

Latinos earn 58 cents
and Latina women 44 cents.

This means that in addition to investing

in researching and cures,
cancer awareness organization

or social services institutions
need to make it easier for us

for Latinas and their families
to get wellness, education and medical

attention so that they can adopt healthier
lifestyles and afford regular checkups

and also screenings to spot
cancer as early as possible.

Prevention is a key.

Today, 48.6 million people

in this country speak Spanish,
and 11 million of them are undocumented

Latin American immigrants who have
come to pursue the American dream.

They understand enough basic
English in order to be productive.

We have seen that.

However, when you are dealing with terms
such as carcinoma in situ,

disease free survival,
metastases, mortality rate,

remission, targeted meds, you can be
easily lost and you can be overwhelmed.

Let let me tell you this story,

this example.

that she's originally from Guatemala.

She received her breast cancer
diagnosis in 2018.

She's a volunteer and ambassador
with Rosa Es Rojo.

She had to rely on her daughter to serve
as her main interpreter at the hospital.

Leslie reports that she has been able

to listen to the doctors and understand
a few ideas, but without

her daughter's help,
she wouldn't be able to understand her

disease or the detailed instructions
she needed for a successful recovery.

So when children and teenagers are serving

as their parents own translators,
it is a sign of a broken system.

And Latinas in America deserve better.

Part of fixing
that system will be rethinking how we

approach wellness education for Latino
communities and other minorities.

Most of the time talking about Latinos,
we receive a plain translation of medical

formats and also classes
related to cancer education.

But language is important, yes,
but culturally relevant content is key

for changing behaviors and breaking
the pathology of an unhealthy lifestyle.

Cancer awareness organizations and other

nonprofits like us,
we are struggling to serve the minority,

the Latinos, because there is a lack
of wellness and cancer prevention programs

that address our needs in a way
that resonates for us.

They need to include not just our

language, but also our idioms,
the traditional foods,

way of expressing love and disgust,
even jokes, myths and music.

I personally lived through the efforts

of my medical team at the hospital trying
to convince me to eat more green salad.

I remember that very well.

Not knowing, they didn't know

that I prefer to eat cucumbers or jicama

with lime juice or a pinch of salt
and chili flakes on top.

Another example, I didn't understand why

sometimes a doctor
didn't shake hands with me.

When traditionally, I wanted to thank him
with a kiss on the cheek or a tight hug.

That was the way that I was expressing...

That I was thankful.

I had also a difficult time
thinking about myself first,

because when I was taught, by my heritage,
to think about others first.

If we are going to be educated on how

to achieve wellness,
educators must not forget

that a vast majority of us are huggers,
a little bit nosy for the good of our

communities, and often like
to eat tortillas with cactus.

There is a clear bottom line
case for making these changes.

In Texas, just in Texas,

every dollar invested in cancer prevention
leads to 26 in treatment cost savings.

This is key for financial empowerment.

And healthy people,
regardless of their ethnicity,

are good for the economy,
just as sick people are bad for it.

In 2018 alone,
Texas had more than a million lost jobs

due to cancer treatment,
morbidity and mortality with a total cost

to the economy of some of $212 billion.

Our social innovation Rosa Es Rojo

serving in Fort Worth and other
cities around North Texas,

 fills the gap created,

but by cultural barriers
offering a Spanish solution

for wellness education,
using culturally relevant content,

and this has been possible thanks
to our signature programs.

Let me explain more about them.

The first one is The Rojo Way,

which is our 20 hour long program
that uses in person

and also virtual group training,

one on one mentorship
sessions and support group.

Our second program is called SuperVive
or SuperVive,

which is a virtual wellness education
segment based on a podcast,

a weekly podcast and a YouTube channel
that can be accessed by anyone anywhere.

You can go to a Spotify, Apple podcast,
Google podcast, YouTube, even our website.

And you can listen to these
continuing wellness education.

These programs, El Camino Rojo,

The Rojo Way and SuperVive
are effectively breaking the pathology

of unhealthy lifestyles,
which can reduce cancer.

And we know that no other organization

reaching is reaching the Hispanic
community with this innovative approach.

As of today, Rosa Es Rojo has delivered more
than 10,000 hours of wellness education,

reaching more than 1200 Hispanic women

and more than 5000 community
members just in North Texas.

Based on our evaluation tools,
our participants have reported that they

improved by 91 percent their choice
in food options.

By 89 percent,
they have improved their emotional health.

92 percent of our participants,

they have improved
their ability to learn optimism

and 77 percent of them, they have
improved their resilience and wellbeing.

Underserved Hispanic women served
by Rosa Es Rojo

today are empowered to make conscious
decisions that positively impact their

lifestyles, but also, though, and those of
their children creating a ripple effect.

Our participants can also take what they

have learned back to their communities
by becoming ambassadors and volunteers,

just like Leslie, that we
were talking about Leslie.

Women like her, like Leslie
and their entire families,

are at risk due to a lack of knowledge

about wellness,
resources and social capital.

It is not easy for social services, 
we know,

and institutions such as hospitals,

churches and government agencies to serve
the Latino community effectively.

But for the sake of millions of us,
they must do better, we must do better.

I remember last year.

That I was watching Leslie doing
a Facebook live from an intensive care

unit in a hospital in the Metroplex.
She was in ICU

and she had had a surgery that took
doctors more than eight hours to complete.

Leslie was in pain,
but she was enthusiastic.

She, of course, is close to finishing,
was close to finishing her treatment,

and her daughter was by her side
holding the phone for her mom,

reporting to us about how things
went for her. Sharing updates.

And Leslie.

Could only say a few words,

but her experience, her lives,
her life speaks volumes.

Thank you, Impact Fort Worth.

Because you, today, 
you are a real initiative

 to help our communities,
our Hispanic community get better

and strong.

Thanks to social innovation,

but mainly thanks to social
innovators just like you.

Thank you.