Funding promotes tobacco cessation amongst Richfield Latinos

Richfield is the target of $175,000 worth of funding for a tobacco cessation campaign focusing on the city’s Latino population.

Minneapolis nonprofit CLUES, which stands for Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio, is receiving the money from the Center for Prevention at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. The outreach is part of CLUES’ efforts to enhance its work in Richfield, in keeping with its mission as a Latino advocacy organization, according to Brittany Kellerman, development officer for CLUES .

“Recently we’ve been trying to target Richfield, given the recent increase in Latinos in the area,” Kellerman said.

The emphasis on the Latino population stems from the funding’s aim to address health equity issues. In that aim, Blue Cross and Blue Shield is dispensing $4 million to various organizations across the state over the next three years.

Using the money in Richfield, CLUES plans to reach out to in-home day care providers and managers of apartment complexes. Through community meetings, the organization plans to educate tenants and caregivers about the effects of second-and third-hand smoke. The latter term refers to indirect exposure to toxins that seep into materials – clothing, furniture, carpet – in a given environment.

“There are still a lot of misunderstandings and myths within the community, especially about those two issues,” Kellerman said.

According CLUES’ proposal for the funding, the group plans to reach at least 20 apartment complexes with heavy Latino populations and at least 10 in-home day care centers that serve a high number of Latinos. Of the targeted apartment complexes, CLUES hopes to convince eight to establish no-smoking policies.

Meanwhile, the organization wants to educate day care providers on third-hand smoke and ensure their properties are smoke-free 24 hours a day, Kellerman said.

A fact sheet from the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids explains how health inequities relate to tobacco use amongst Hispanics.

“Hispanics are the least likely of any racial or ethnic group to have health insurance,” the fact sheet states. “With limited access to health care, it is less likely that Hispanic smokers will be advised by a health care provider to quit smoking or have access to cessation treatments.”

CLUES’ funding proposal further states the need to address health inequities. It says that in efforts to access tobacco-free
housing and day care centers, Latinos face barriers including limited English proficiency, lower incomes, low literacy and limited educational background.

Latinos in Richfield are only one sector receiving attention from health advocates as they work to encourage greater health equity.

“The challenges our state faces are multi-faceted and complex. A multi-sector approach is needed to close the gaps and improve the health of all Minnesotans,” said Janelle Waldock, vice president of community initiatives and health equity at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. “What inspires me is the number of organizations that want to step forward and play a role.”

Contact Andrew Wig at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @RISunCurrent.