Latino USA

America Bracho: the OC Health Genie / by Maria Hinojosa | May 18, 2012

America Bracho: the OC Health Genie

For America Bracho, health is more than just the absence of disease. She believes having parks, access to healthy foods and being civically involved are just as important. When she arrived in Santa Ana, California, over a decade ago, few services focused on children with diabetes, a growing problem in a city with many low-income Latino families. We feature Bracho, the founder and executive director of Latino Health Access, a center for health promotion and disease prevention, as one of our Health Heroes.

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America Bracho is the founder and executive director of Latino Health Access, a Santa Ana based organization dedicated to the health needs of Latinos in Orange County. A native of Venezuela, she worked helping fight several epidemics, and moved to the U.S. in 1986, where she helped fight HIV/AIDS. She also a consultant for the Pan-American Health Organization and is nationally recognized as an expert in Latino Health issues.

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Beatriz Sosa-Prado says:

Dr. America Bracho in deed is a visionary who has transformed the lives of many, may people. I am very fortunate to have worked with her and the amazing staff at Latino Health Access in my earlier career in public health. Dr. Bracho is truly an inspiration for me to continue the fight towards health equity and improve the quality of life of Latinos.

Kathrin Patton says:

Growing up in Orange County in the 60s and 70s, it seemed as though public parks were few and far between. Back then we thought that if you needed some “wide open space” you could visit the ocean. I think one reason people flock to the ocean is to look at a large expanse that has no people or development in site. (The oil rigs kind of spoil that). I now live in Texas with miles and miles of natural parks as well as abundant public parks in the cities.

I was appalled to hear the statistic that OC has 1000 people per acre of park land, which works out to 45 sf/person. I came to this website to find out if I heard that right. I also wonder where in the world is so little open space available to people — maybe some parts of India?

I truly believe that OC as a whole has “too many rats in the cage” and I worry for what could happen in the future. The problems with overcrowding are going to get worse, and that affects everybody, rich and poor. Ms. Bracho is a rare light in the cage who can make a difference. I am so encouraged when I hear stories about people who are devoting themselves to a cause such as this. She is truly a visionary. I pray for children whose lives would be improved and forever changed if they only had somewhere nice and safe to play and exercise.

Thank you, and please let me know if I misunderstood the statistics that Ms. Bracho mentioned on Latino USA.

Kathrin Patton
Round Rock, Texas

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