The Third Annual Latino Health Summit and Adelante Wellness Expo took place on April 7-8 at the Doubletree in Reading. This two-day, community-focused event provided an opportunity for continuing education and networking among the medical community as well as activities, demonstrations, health screenings and resources for the public to enjoy at no cost.
On Friday, April 7, a full agenda of speakers brought together executives and professionals in the areas of healthcare, social services, and public health for engaging professional workshops that shared fresh perspectives informed by real-world experience in local communities. The keynote speaker was Laurie Hernandez, 2016 2X Olympic Medalist and Dancing with the Stars (DWTS) Champion. On Saturday, April 8, the Adelante Wellness Expo provided free access to wellness workshops, fitness activities, healthy food demos, health screenings, dental assessments, kids activities and more.
Latino Connection created the Latino Health Summit in 2018, a first-of-its-kind statewide event in Pennsylvania that brings to the forefront a topic that had rarely been discussed at length: Latino health. The goal of this annual event, which has been help in York, Lancaster, and now Reading, is to elevate the most pressing issues of the Latino community across Pennsylvania by bringing together influential thought leaders, private and public-sector organizations, and members of the community to grow together in a collaborative and uplifting environment.
Founder and CEO of Latino Connection, George Fernandez, states, “In order to achieve meaningful, lasting change toward better public health, especially among minority populations, it requires long term commitments to evolve toward diversity and inclusion. This should be a fundamental requirement for health care organizations and leaders throughout our community. And it’s precisely what the Latino Health Summit hopes to achieve by creating a space for collaborative discussions and educational opportunities.”
The Latino community is the fastest growing segment of our population, accounting for more than 50% of the state’s growth in the last 2 decades. By 2040, multicultural segments will represent the majority of the Commonwealth. Reading was selected as this year’s host city for its dense Latino population; 1 in 4 residents of Berks County are Latino. Additionally, the percentage of adults in Berks County who report their health as fair or poor has increased from 16.0% in 2011–2013 to 19.0% in 2015–2017. In Reading, about 18% of Latinos do not have health insurance, a rate that’s nearly 8% higher than the county average.