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TEDMED: Patients Can Become Leaders on the Health Team

Communities can raise their own leaders; may be key approach to change at community level

MONDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- Identifying and engaging leaders from within a community is critical for creating meaningful change at a community-wide level, according to a leading physician educator who presented at TEDMED 2013, held from April 16 to 19 in Washington, D.C.

America Bracho, M.D., executive director of Latino Health Access in Santa Ana, Calif., spoke of her experiences in grassroots health education and health behavior outreach in her presentation "What Happens When Patients Become Leaders on the Health Team?"

Latino Health Access is a center for health promotion and disease prevention, created under her leadership to assist multiple health needs of Latinos in Orange County. Bracho and her team facilitate empowerment for the Latino community using participatory approaches to community health education. This includes programs that focus on training community health workers as leaders of health and wellness initiatives. Her philosophy is that positive change in public health is not about one group (the health care professionals) having the talents and others (the community citizens) having the needs. Rather, it's about all of us having the talents to create sustainable change.

"You must choose the right people," Bracho said in her stage presentation. "Recruit the heart and train the brain."

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