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Professor Martinez-Donate Presented with Local Nonprofit Congreso's Community Champion Award

Headshot of Ana

October 26, 2020

Ana Martinez-Donate, PhD, professor of community health and prevention at Dornsife, was awarded the Community Champion Award by Congreso de Latinos Unidos, Inc. at their virtual fundraising event on October 15, 2020. Congreso is a Philadelphia nonprofit with a mission to enable individuals and families in predominantly Latino neighborhoods to achieve economic self-sufficiency and wellbeing.

The award recognizes her work as the founder and convener of the Latino Health Collective in the city of Philadelphia in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that has disproportionately impacted Hispanic communities. 

In early March, Martinez-Donate coordinated what became an ongoing series of biweekly town hall meetings with representatives from Latino-serving organizations like Congreso, Esperanza Health Center, the Consulate of Mexico, Puentes de Salud, HIAS Pennsylvania, and the CRISOL Program. Together, the group identified important issues, discussed possible solutions, and shared resources to help alleviate them.

What started as a small group of organizers transformed into what is known as the Latino Health Collective with policymakers, public health professionals, city officials, and representatives from more than 40 different Latino-serving organizations. 

One of the first hurdles the Collective addressed was insufficient access to testing and language barriers to healthcare that were common among Hispanic communities. To remedy these issues, the Collective advocated for communities by alerting the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Health (PDPH) which resulted in the PDPH setting up testing sites in South Philadelphia. They also advocated to ensure local hospitals provided translation services for Spanish speaking patients seeking COVID-19 care.

Thanks to the support of numerous doctoral and master’s program students from Dornsife, Martinez-Donate has been able to expand her reach to communities in this challenging time. “As a group, we rolled up our sleeves and promoted solidarity and inter-organizational collaboration. It’s gratifying,” she said.

The Collective continues to meet the first Thursday of every month. If anyone is interested in joining, they can email Martinez-Donate.