With the sun shining, music playing and the grill fired up, Einstein thanked members of the Bronx community participating in the SOL Study — the first national, in-depth study of the health of Latinos living the U.S. — at SOL Family Day on Saturday, August 15. Invited for an afternoon of fun, food and fiesta, hundreds of Bronx residents who have already joined the study celebrated in St. Mary's Park in the South Bronx alongside SOL researchers and clinic workers.
SOL clinical interview/recruiter Josï¿½ Guzman, with
friend Juanita (left) and grandmother Elsie.The Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos, or SOL, is a study of 16,000 Latinos, aged 18 to 74, living in four U.S. cities — New York, San Diego, Chicago, and Miami. Einstein is conducting the research among 4,000 Latinos living in the Bronx. The landmark study hopes to address the many unanswered questions that still exist about Latino health: Do all Latinos suffer the same risk of having a heart attack, a stroke or asthma? Why is it that some Latinos do not die from cardiovascular disease despite having multiple risk factors? What health care access issues are common among Latinos? What can we learn about Latino health and dietary patterns that will help to create better guidelines for disease prevention and medical care specifically tailored to Latinos? The study teams will keep in touch with participants for years to come in order to learn about changes in their health over time.
"With Latinos currently making up 15% of the U.S. population — and an estimated 30% by 2050 — the study's findings could have an enormous impact on health care in the U.S. well into the future," says Robert Kaplan, Ph.D., associate professor of epidemiology & population health at Einstein and principal investigator at the Bronx center of the SOL Study. "When my staff and I speak with our participants, they tell us how happy they are to have an opportunity to help others in their community and be a part of history. And we wanted to thank them for taking part."
While the study could impact Latino health care and the health of all Americans for years to come, it also has a significant impact on each participant right now. "I spoke with many people who shared how their experience with SOL has changed their perspective on their health," said Jessica Clemente, event organizer and outreach and retention coordinator for SOL in the Bronx. "Not only do they receive a comprehensive medical report based on their study evaluation, but discussing their diet and lifestyle choices with our clinical interviewers raises their awareness of behaviors that can potential be health risk factors."
"From the brief chats I had during the event, I was able to get a sense that participants felt recognized and understood the importance of this monumental study of Latinos," said Jhack Sepulveda, a community nutritionist and the lead dietary interviewer for SOL in the Bronx. "At the clinic, we pay close attention to the barriers that come between health care and this population. From cultural sensitivity training for staff, to providing participants with transportation to the SOL clinic, we feel we are making this study and healthcare more accessible and the participants appreciate it."
Also on hand at SOL Family Day were tables manned by the American Diabetes Association; Lincoln Hospital Crisis Center, and MetroPlus Health Plan, which provides affordable health insurance. In addition, SOL dietary interviewers manned a nutrition education table with food models and sugar and sodium displays. The intent was to educate participants on portion sizes, food labels, and sugar and sodium content in common foods.
Between bites of grilled rosemary chicken, corn on the cob, salad and hamburgers, children clamored around the face-painter (who is also a participant), played musical chairs, and danced to the music spun by DJ Fade. There were also raffle drawings for a variety of goods. Thirty-three lucky kids and their parents received tickets to the New York Giants first pre-season game, compliments of the United Way of New York City "Touchdown for Teens" charitable program.
"SOL Family Day was a special opportunity for SOL staff and participants to come together and share their experiences," said Ms. Clemente. "The event has laid a great foundation for the years to come."
The SOL study is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Posted on: Thursday, August 27, 2009