Action for Health in the Americas

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Action for Health in the Americas (AHA) is the North American counterpart of Educación Popular En Salud (EPES) based in Chile. EPES has been supporting sustainable community-based public health initiatives among the poor in Chile since 1982.

We believe in the power of people to promote their own healthy communities, given the proper financial, educational and technical support.

EPES Update May 2016: In-depth Focus on the Escuela Internacional

AHA is exMay2016UpdateCovercited to share this May’s EPES Update, a special edition that highlights the Escuela Internacional: EPES’ International Training Course that brings together participants from different countries with the common goal of leveraging EPES’ decades of participatory and community-based Escuela2016Mapmethodologies to empower the participants to bring those practices home. This past January, EPES hosted its 7th annual Escuela, bringing the total number of participants to 130 and countries represented to 18. For all of you who have supported EPES through donations over the past several years, you have helped make this all possible. Thank you again for your support and AHA hopes to continue to partner with you to ensure the Escuela Internacional and all of EPES’ other programming can continue well into the future. We hope that you’ll consider donating online using our secure form. AHA also accepts mailed donations via the address listed on our home page. ¡Muchas gracias!

 

 

 

ChileTuesday? What about Chile for New Years?

We are so proud of our team – we have raised $35,714 for our #ChileTuesday campaign. That is 119% of our goal and yet we’re still working. If you are looking for a last great action for 2015 or a first great action for 2016 – we invite you to help us bust the roof of our goals – donate to #ChileTuesday.

The pictures below help to tell the story…

The EPES December 2015 Update is here!

EPES Update December 2015

Dear Friends of EPES and AHA:

We hope you like the new format of the EPES Update! This version is more streamlined and has fewer “pieces” for you to keep track of—allowing you to focus on the amazing accomplishments and ongoing efforts of EPES and, hopefully, reminding you of how far your donations can go.

This past year has highlighted how valuable EPES’ work can be:

  • Leveraging their community-level disaster response and recovery capacity to work with victims of the September 2015 earthquake and tsunami—even while rebuilding from the April 2014 fire that devastated the poorest neighborhoods of Valparaíso continues.
  • Planning for the seventh International Training Course on Participatory and Community Strategies for Health—which will be held in January. Interest and participation in this annual course continue to grow every year. In the first six courses, there have been 110 participants from 15 countries. EPES’ training model is being replicated in many places in Latin America and all the way to Kenya!
  • Becoming a strong voice in Chile for health as a human right and mobilizing many organizations, communities and individuals to fight for this right.

In 2015, AHA has also sought to revamp our role as EPES’ advocates in North America. You’ll read about the exciting new #ChileTuesday campaign in this Update, but we’re also working to improve our website and provide more updates electronically—please share your email address with us if you haven’t done so already (either by noting it on the mailed donation form or when you make an online donation). We welcome your ideas for how AHA can continue to be a strong voice for EPES in 2016 and beyond!

As always, muchas gracias for your ongoing commitment to the work of EPES. In this world where there is so much suffering and need, we know that there are demands on your compassion (and pocketbook). Have a happy holiday season and a healthy and peaceful New Year!

Christina Mills MD FRCPC

President, Action for Health in the Americas

Click here to read about all the great work EPES has been up to in 2015!

Join our #ChileTuesday Campaign!

#ChileTuesday Banner

Dear Friend of AHA and EPES,

We have Thanksgiving for giving thanks. We have Black Friday for getting deals. Now, we have #GivingTuesday for giving back.

This December 1st, help Educación Popular en Salud (EPES) turn #GivingTuesday into #ChileTuesday by supporting their programs to help women and their families through collective action on health, social and environmental issues.

Our Goal: 2X the Impact

A generous donor has offered to match every donation up to $30,000 through December 1st. Every dollar you raise or donate to EPES will be doubled!

If we reach our goal, EPES will receive $60,000—that’s enough to train 12,000 community health leaders in low-income communities throughout Chile.

Get Involved!

Join our #ChileTuesday campaign by creating a personal fundraising page to support EPES and the people of Chile.

Create your fundraising page now >

Get creative with your fundraising efforts and host a Chilean wine tasting or dinner party! Grab a few bottles, invite your closest friends and ask for a small contribution towards your fundraising goal.

Here’s how to get started:

1. Choose a fundraising page title, such as “Alex’s #ChileTuesday Fundraiser”.
2. Add your picture and customize the description text.
3. Share with family and friends via email and your social media!

No time for an event? Simply reach out to your friends and family and tell them why community health programs in Chile are important to you, and watch the support roll in!

Alternatively, you can donate directly to the campaign > 

All donations are tax deductible, and thanks to our generous match, every gift up to our $30,000 goal will be doubled.

Together we can bring health, dignity and justice to the people of Chile!

If you have questions, please respond to this email and we will happily help.

Thank you so much for your continued support!

Christina Mills MD FRCPC
President, Action for Health in the Americas

Karen Anderson
Founder, Educación Popular en Salud

EPES’ Post-Earthquake Efforts

Hello friends of AHA and EPES! As we’ve been updating our website, we seem to have lost our two most recent posts about the work EPES was doing with recovery from the September 2015 earthquake and tsunami that impacted Chile. You can view the letter from Dr. Lautaro Lopez, two reports, and photos below!

September 18th Earthquake Report

September 24 Earthquake Report

Surveying impact in Tongoy 2015-09-16 Earthquake Monica interviewing Roxanna Coquimbo coastal region

TRANSLATED FROM THE ORIGINAL SPANISH LANGUAGE LETTER

September 17, 2015

Dear Friends of EPES,

I write to express immense gratitude for the scores of messages of solidarity that began reaching us immediately, minutes after last night´s earthquake, as well as the offers to help us respond collectively to the latest disaster to affect Chile.  Yesterday was such a terrible day; when the earth began to move, at once everyone remembered the devastating earthquake of 2010 that impacted much of our country. Last night’s earthquake was the world’s worst so far this year, reaching 8.4 on the Richter scale. It is reported to be one of the 30 largest earthquakes ever to strike anywhere in the world. Chile also holds another unfortunate record with the earthquake/tsunami of 1960 in the southern region that surpassed 9 on the Richter scale.

In light of the extensive suffering, fear and stress these events have produce – even though we are the world’s most seismic country we never get used to earthquakes – I would like to share with you what we have been doing. Today we began a process to assess with greater precision the urgent needs of northern Chile, while also identifying and communicating with interfaith networks of the zone with whom we can coordinate and develop an initial work plan.

Initially, I contacted all institutional members of the ACT Alliance Forum, comprised of interfaith groups that responded to the earthquake/tsunami of 2010 in the central-southern region. Unfortunately, I only achieved a partial response, probably due to Chile’s Independence Day festivities and long holiday weekend now upon us.

Subsequently, I persisted in communicating with other agencies experienced in emergency work, specifically the Methodist Humanitarian Assistance Team of the Methodist Church of Chile (EMAH Chile). Next week, together with the other ACT member organizations we will develop a work proposal to enable us to support the most affected zone. We will explore the possibility of working with two organizations with which we have worked in past emergency situations, namely, EMAH Chile and CEDM (Diego de Medellin Ecumenical Center). With these two groups we hope to design a project employing the psychosocial community-based support strategy in the recovery and prevention phases in the most devastated area (Choapa Province).

In addition, Karen Anderson has spoken to IELCH Bishop Izani Brunch who expressed interest in joining EPES and ACT efforts. The EPES staff has proposed contributing initial funds for conducting an on-site assessment. A community health promoter trained by EPES with experience from our work in Valparaiso after the fire as well as post disaster work will coordinate the assessment. A key player will be former EPES health promoter  now living in Tongoy, one of the most affected coast communities. The assessment will be conducted with women who had modest work stands and lost everything in yesterday’s tsunami. On the basis of their assessment, EPES will develop a proposal to present to ELCA and other possible funding sources.

Lastly, on behalf of the EPES staff, we wish to express our most heartfelt thanks to all our friends as well as the solidarity institutions that give of their time, concern and have decided to provide support in this situation. Your efforts will help overcome the material and psychosocial damage affecting our communities, especially the most vulnerable members of society.

Warmly,

Dr. Lautaro Lopez

EPES Concepcion and ACT Chile

Tobacco-Free Chile launches #ISupporttheTobaccoLaw to incredible success

Tobacco-Free Chile launches #ISupporttheTobaccoLaw to incredible successProducers of the TVN (Chile’s National Television) morning television show Buenos Dias a Todos last week proclaimed their support for the #YoApoyoLeyTabaco (I Support the Tobacco Law) citizen campaign. The Tobacco-Free Chile coalition, an initiative coordinated by the EPES Foundation that promotes public health policy that lowers the high rate of smoking in this country, launched the campaign Monday, August 24.

Sonia Covarrubias, Tobacco-Free Chile Coalition Coordinator and EPES Executive Secretary, was interviewed Wednesday morning on the television program. The extensive interview gave her the opportunity to call upon Chilean organizations and the population in general to support a bill that aims to bring the national law in line with the World Health Organization’s Tobacco Control Framework Agreement

After launching the citizen campaign, the television program producers contacted Sonia to appear on the show. During the course of the interview, the program’s ratings rose, prompting producers to extend the time on the set. In addition, the campaign became a Twitter Trending Topic.

The complete 51-minute interview may be viewed on TVN’s website.

Sonia described the objectives behind plain packaging and spoke about the issue of tobacco additives, refuting tobacco industry charges about an alleged black market trade. She made a point to signal that the “YoApoyoLeyTabaco” campaign is backed by the OPS, WHO, as well as 60 national and international organizations. Moreover, four former Health Ministers of Chile – Jaime Mañalich, Osvaldo Artaza, Jorge Jimenez de la Jara and Helia Molina – publicly announced their support for the measure.

Action for Health in the Americas is proud to be a key supporter of this campaign and all the other work of EPES!

In awe of EPES…plus the May 2015 Update is here!

 

May2015UpdateCoverHello friends of EPES and AHA!

Most of you haven’t heard from me before, but I thought I’d give Chris, our Board President, a break from writing a letter this time. As I was proofreading this EPES Update – specifically the article about EPES turning 33 – I got to thinking how absolutely amazing EPES is and felt the need to share those thoughts. While I’ve always known EPES is a year older than me, for some reason I was struck by the fact that I’m 32 and EPES is 33. It could be that now, as responsibilities in my life and career pile up, I can better appreciate what an incredible feat it is for these four women to have founded a grassroots organization in very challenging circumstances, grown it to what it is today, and still be so committed 33 years later. I’m in awe of them and all the others who have become a part of EPES since 1982.

I feel incredibly lucky to have met Karen 9 years ago and been introduced to the work of EPES, which led to me helping with the development of Action for Health in the Americas and later serving on the board. Since those of us on the board are volunteers, other responsibilities sometimes keep us from doing more, but something keeps us connected and committed to EPES even a continent away. I know the same goes for all of you. As AHA board secretary I keep the records for donations and know that many of you donate to EPES year after year (often multiple times a year) and see that your support is critical to EPES’s continued operations in Chile and has allowed us to spread their model beyond Chile.

If you’ve known EPES for a while – as most of you have – you can see how much has been accomplished when you read through this Update. I remember helping to write one of the first grant applications for the work EPES would do with tobacco control in Chile, and now EPES is presenting its accomplishments at a prominent international conference. The International Training Course now has over 110 graduates from 15 countries. And Llareta just celebrated its 30th anniversary.

Truly an inspiration to me, and hopefully, to all of you as well.

Thank you for your continued support!

Meghan Ochal

Secretary, Action for Health in the Americas Board

EPESUpdateMay2015

Happy New Year!

AHA and EPES would like to wish you all a happy 2015!

As has happened for the past five years, EPES is jumping right in and starting the year with one of its biggest undertParticipant Mapakings – the annual International Training Course in Popular Education in Health. Now in its sixth year, participants are arriving in Santiago this weekend – and will spend the next two weeks immersed in hands-on learning about community-based strategies for health that they can bring back to their own communities near and far. These participants will join the 90 graduates from 15 countries who have already gone forth from the first five trainings to spread the EPES model.

This year, EPES is excited to welcome Emmy award winninSpecial Guest Lisa Russellg documentary filmmaker and public health advocate Lisa Russell as a special guest instructor, who will highlight her film Poder! and discuss how video production can be an exercise in women’s empowerment and involving creative communities in chronicling the fight for dignity and health.

You can read more about the planned course content, the faculty, and experiences of past students here; AHA looks forward to sharing the outcomes of the course in the coming weeks!