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Topics > Reducing Health Disparities Initiative > What We Are Doing > Reaching the Spanish-Speaking Latino Community

Reaching the Spanish-Speaking Latino Community

The Latino Outreach Committee came up with the idea of CCHS and CCTV producing a television talk show.

How it all started

Addressing linguistic access dates back even before our Reducing Health Disparities Initiative. Nearly eight years ago, CCHS Director Dr. William Walker, responding to employee concerns about how we were communicating with the Spanish-speaking Latino community, formed the Latino Outreach Committee. The group's charge was to recommend how we could improve our efforts.

Committee members - employees from our various Divisions - agreed that Spanish-speaking Latinos preferred to receive critical health information in their native language, and research showed television was a highly popular medium among Latinos. The group's brainstorming led to a collaboration with Contra Costa Television and gave birth to Vida Sana en Vivo, a professional, culturally competent, Spanish-language health education show. The first production hit the airways on June 21, 2001. Since then, we have produced more than 40 shows with topics ranging from violence and childhood obesity to pandemic flu and bioterrorism. (A complete list of shows is available on our website.)

Challenges we've faced

Now in its sixth year, Vida Sana en Vivo airs twice a week. In 2002, the show won the National Association of Counties Achievement Award and has placed as finalist and received honorable mention in several other award competitions throughout the years. Keeping the show on the air has not been easy. Securing funding for the show has always been a challenge. We've learned to do most of the production work in-house and have reduced costs from $1,500 to $900 per show. Much of the funding in recent years has come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and many of the programs focus on health emergency issues.

Convincing the community to watch was another challenge. Contra Costa Television was not a station with Spanish programming and we knew it would take time for the community to tune in. Careful thought was put into the scheduling of the show to avoid competition from other stations. We continually promote the show through press releases, flyers and on our website. To reach a larger audience we've expanded the show to air on KCRT, the Richmond city TV station, and we're working to get it on other stations in the county.

A new look

The Vida Sana en Vivo of today has a different look than the original. The cultural segments that once ran in the middle of the show have been replaced with short, on-location interviews with our programs and other providers. The original program ran announcements of upcoming events; now we provide phone numbers and websites for viewers.

Elizabeth de Dios (left) is the host of Vida Sana en Vivo and Vicky Balladares is the producer.

The show also went from two hosts to one, and our current host, Richmond Firefighter Elizabeth de Dios, began hosting the show in the winter of 2004. We now produce an average of four new shows a year and have created an English version, Get Ready, Get Healthy, hosted by West Contra Costa Unified School District staffer Doug Spangler.

Both shows air on Contra Costa Television, which is Channel 27 on Comcast cable and Channel 32 on Astound cable. Vida Sana en Vivo airs every Thursday at 3:30 p.m. and Fridays at 5 p.m. Get Ready, Get Healthy airs Monday at 7:30 p.m. and Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.

For more information about Vida Sana en Vivo, contact Vicky Balladares at 925-313-6268.

Content provided by the Reducing Health Disparities Initiative.

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