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Salud Para Niños - Health for Children Community Project in Pittsburgh Highlighted at AAP Conference

Diego Chaves-Gnecco, MD, MPH, presents poster on Children's Hispanic community programs

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh's Diego Chaves-Gnecco, MD, MPH, will present a poster that highlights community outreach, particularly with the Hispanic community.

The American Academy of Pediatrics conference is being held from Oct. 7-10, 2005, in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Chaves-Gnecco, a native of Columbia, founded Children's bilingual clinic for Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking patients in the summer of 2002, and this year it has grown to nearly 200 patients and more than 1,000 visits. Both a bilingual primary care clinic at Children's and a mobile clinic for Hispanic and Latino families have improved the families' access to essential pediatric health care services through Spanish-speaking physicians and nurses.

"We focus on the health and well-being of the entire family," said Dr. Chaves-Gnecco. "We help them understand when they qualify for insurance programs and provide them with services they otherwise may not be able to utilize. Our goal is to overcome language barriers to health care. By offering a bilingual clinic, we can improve their access and do it in a culturally sensitive way."

Some interesting Children's program statistics Dr. Chaves-Gnecco will present include:

  • Over the last three years, the care of 139 children resulted in 957 visits.
  • Children's has checked 68 car seats and replaced 14 at no cost to families in the first four Hispanic car seat checks in the region.
  • Numerous bilingual books have been distributed to families to stimulate reading habits and to learn and improve their English.

The Pittsburgh region's Hispanic population has expanded greatly in recent years. Approximately one-third of them are children under age 18, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Many of these families have difficulty accessing health care because of cultural and language barriers or lack of insurance, according to Dr. Chaves-Gnecco.

The clinic offers well- and sick-child visits, immunizations, lead screenings, vision and hearing screenings, sports and school physicals and other primary care services.

"Pittsburgh's Hispanic and Latino populations have largely been an 'invisible community' because they are spread across the region and not in a centralized location. But it is a community that is growing quickly and we're concerned about their access to health care," Dr. Chaves-Gnecco said. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, southwestern Pennsylvania's Hispanic population grew by 44 percent between 1990 and 2000, from 12,099 to 17,500.

Melanie Finnigan or Marc Lukasiak, 412-692-5016, and

Last Update
February 18, 2008
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Last Update
February 18, 2008