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Making Breastfeeding The Norm Among Inner City Latinas


Bill Sarno


A culture which prevailed in the mid-20th century America viewed breastfeeding as outside the norm, as “the special way,” became entrenched in Puerto Rico because of its close relationship with the United States.  The prevalence of formula-feeding continues to be reflected today among low-income Puerto Rican women living in Hartford who tend to breastfeed less than other Latinas.

The desire to change this culture, to normalize and increase the use of a practice that most pediatricians and health care advocates endorse as the best way to nourish newborns and infants, inspired a peer counseling program.  Breastfeeding: Heritage and Pride was developed by the Hispanic Health Council and has run in collaboration with Hartford Hospital over the past decade.

Recently, this “one woman helping another” approach, which had primarily centered in the heavily Hispanic neighborhoods near Hartford Hospital, has been able to increase its outreach to other parts …

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Latinas Sterilized Unknowingly In A Los Angeles Hospital Tell Their Story

Maria Hurtado, a plaintiff in a 1978 case about alleged coercive sterilization, and her husband, Salvador, in circa 2014. (Virginia Espino) via WashingtonPost.com

Maria Hurtado, a plaintiff in a 1978 case about alleged coercive sterilization, and her husband, Salvador, in circa 2014. (Virginia Espino) via WashingtonPost.com



The doctors and nurses told Melvina Hernández that the decision was a matter of life or death for her and for her baby ready to be born: She needed an emergency Caesarean section. They also wanted her consent for one other procedure.

The 23-year-old mother-to-be was lying in the maternity ward of Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center four decades ago. She didn’t speak English. She said she couldn’t sign any papers because her husband wasn’t there. The couple planned to have at least two or three children.

“If you don’t sign, you’ll die,” the nurse said, waving a paper printed in English, as Hernández recalls in a new documentary. “Then the nurse grabbed my hand and signed my name.”

The child was born healthy, and …

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New Anti-tobacco Campaign Targets Young Latinos And Blacks


The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) is launching “Fresh Empire” a hip-hop themed anti-tobacco campaign targeted at Latinos and Blacks.

“Unfortunately, the health burdens of tobacco use disproportionately affect minority teens – particularly African American and Hispanic youth,” said Jonca Bull, M.D., the FDA’s Assistant Commissioner for Minority Health in a press release. “The ‘Fresh Empire’ campaign will help reach teens at a key point in their lives when experimenting with smoking can lead to addiction.”

The “Fresh Start” campaign will target youth ages 12-17 with interactive content, songs and videos by up and coming hip hop artists.

“We know from our research that remaining in control is an important pillar of hip-hop culture. But smoking represents a loss of control, so tobacco use is actually in conflict with that priority,” said Mitch Zeller, director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products.

According to figures by the FDA close to 90

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