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Good health in any language

Nancy Rocha knows how hard getting health care in Craig can be.

After a recent accident, the Colombia native struggled to communicate with her English-speaking doctors. So Comunidad Integrada, a program aimed at integrating immigrants into the Moffat and Routt county communities where they live, stepped in.

Representatives with the group put her in touch with a Spanish-language interpreter so she could understand her condition and ask doctors questions.



She’s thankful for the help and decided to attend Comunidad Integrada’s health fair Tuesday night to show her support for the group and learn about some relevant health topics.

“It’s good because people can find out what opportunities there are to get interpreters, and doctors can figure out a way of resolving (the communication problem),” Rocha said.



The event brought local non-profit agencies and about 25 Hispanic community members to Craig Middle School for health information, free dinner and low-cost flu vaccines.

“We do surveys at all our workshops to see what people want to get more information about, and health is overwhelmingly the No. 1 thing,” said Summer Laws, director of Comunidad Integrada.

She said the group sponsors six workshops a month in both Craig and Steamboat Springs. The next workshop will be held in March and will focus on consumer protection and avoiding scams.

Melissa Winn with the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association gave a presentation Tuesday about the importance of basic health care, such as frequent hand-washing, exercising three times a week and wearing condoms during sexual intercourse.

Laws said this information may seem like common sense to many Americans, but people from Latin American countries may not have received those health lessons in school.

“For someone with less education, it helps bring them up to speed,” Laws said.

At Tuesday’s meeting, Linda Lewis, a chiropractor in Steamboat, presented tips for a healthy lifestyle. She suggested reducing white sugar, white flour and fried foods.

She said B complex and Echinacea are the two most important supplements and drinking water is a must.

“The Mexican diet tends to be very healthy with lots of beans and whole grains,” Lewis said. “It’s important to remember to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.”

Lewis also showed participants reflex points that can help with earaches, constipation and sinus congestion.

Laws said her goal was to help Spanish-speaking community members to become self-sufficient and have the same advantages as people who speak English.

She said she hoped those who came got ideas for preventative health measures and health tips they can practice in their homes.

For information on Comuni–dad Integrada, call 846-5521 or visit http://www.yampavalley.info/ciic.asp.

Michelle Perry can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 209, or mperry@craigdailypress.com


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