We are an exceptional and passionate grassroots, human support organization serving the entire State of Connecticut.

Advocacy Overview

One of the Hispanic Health Council’s core pillars is system and policy advocacy, conducted to impact the many barriers to health experienced by diverse communities at the causal level. We conduct system and policy advocacy to assure that conditions are in place for all people to achieve their highest level of health. The Hispanic Health Council’s advocacy focuses on a broad array of social determinants of health. Current advocacy work focuses on development and sustained support of the community health worker workforce and universal access to affordable, quality healthcare.

Advocacy Strategies

Our approach to achieving system and policy change is multi-faceted, including the following strategies:

• Legislative and administrative advocacy conducted by the Hispanic Health Council leadership and Community Health Workers
• Convening or participating in media events, contributing op-eds to media, about system/policy issues
• Convening focused, facilitated community forums involving policy leaders
and advocates, designed for leaders to be exposed to community perspectives about policy issues
• Convening of policy symposia for education and influencing of policymakers, public officials, clinical healthcare, healthcare payer and public health leaders, advocates, community health workers, and others
• Development and dissemination of policy briefs on specific policy topics
• Participation in local, state, and national-level boards, task forces, committees that offer the opportunity to influence system and policy design.

Community-Based Participatory Research Overview

Community-based research has been a core pillar for the Hispanic Health Council’s pursuit of its mission since its inception. The Hispanic Health Council conducts research and evaluation projects to improve systems, policies, and large-scale programs through an equity lens. The objective is to use community-based participatory research (CBPR) to fully engage community members in identifying health-related needs and designing needed programmatic and policy/system changes to address them. Formative research engages community members in designing service interventions and evaluation research assesses outcomes and impact. As our work has progressed, we have identified a lack of culturally relevant health-related education and support services available to the Latino community. As a result, we have developed evidenced based services in response to these barriers. The Hispanic Health Council conducts much of its research in highly productive, equitable academic and clinical partnerships. Examples of partners include YALE University and the University of Connecticut.

Cross Cultural and Diversity Inclusiveness Training Overview

The landmark 2003 Institute of Medicine report Unequal Treatment and annual research conducted since by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality indicate disparities in quality of healthcare based on race and ethnicity. Unequal Treatment recommended that cross cultural education be provided for current and future healthcare professionals, and that the training be designed to improve knowledge, attitudes/awareness and skills. Cross Cultural & Diversity Inclusiveness (CC&DI) is a signature program of the Hispanic Health Council. The goal of CC&DI is to establish the foundation of knowledge, attitudes, and skills needed to interact effectively with clients of diverse backgrounds.

CC&DI’s training approach is highly participatory, and utilizes a variety of training methods, selected for their effectiveness in teaching about specific topics and facilitating the development of specific skills. Due to the highly participatory nature of the training, group size for in-person training is limited to 25 participants.

The Hispanic Health Council has trained over 5,000 providers, students and faculty in healthcare, public health, social work, community health worker disciplines, among others.

Training Strategies

• Describe a clear conceptual framework of cultural, organizational, and structural competence.
• Identify racial and ethnic inequities, and the importance of cultural competence and structural competency in eliminating these inequities.
• Recognize the pervasive and negative impact that stereotyping, blaming the victim, microaggressions and the existence of white privilege generate.
• Identify, assess and plan to address personal stereotypes and biases, tendency to blame the victim and commit microaggressions.
• Describe how oppression and internalized oppression create barriers to successful personal and professional development, including pursuing valuable opportunities.
• Describe the role of an ally and an advocate in addressing issues of discrimination, bias, and exclusion.
• Demonstrate active listening, assertive communication, and cultural brokering skills and identify how they contribute to successful teaching, mentorship, and inclusion in academic work.
• Develop an action plan for continued progress in expanding awareness, knowledge, and skills related to cultural competence and structural competency.


Damio G, Pérez-Escamilla R, Crummett C, Surprenant R, Wilde LaPlant H, Rhodes E, Trymbulak W, Case study template: Breastfeeding, Heritage and Pride Counselling Programme, Prepared (by invitation) for WHO- BF Counselling Implementation Guidance Committee, 2020

Rhodes E, Wilde LaPlant H, Damio G, Trymbulak W, Crummett C, Surprenant R, Abuwala N, Zahid M, Pérez-Escamilla R, Shifting to remote breastfeeding counseling for low-income minority women during COVID-19: a rapid process evaluation, presented at the 13th Annual Conference on the Science of Dissemination and Implementation in Health, October 2020

(Under review) Rhodes E, Damio G, Wilde LaPlant H, Trymbulak W, Crummett C, Surprenant R, Pérez-Escamilla R, Addressing equity in breastfeeding through peer counseling: the US Breastfeeding Heritage and Pride Program, International Journal for Equity in Health

Wilde LaPlant H, Crummett C, Damio G, Rhodes E, Trymbulak W, Surprenant R, Pérez-Escamilla R, Supporting Mothers to Breastfeed During the COVID-19 Pandemic: The Breastfeeding Heritage and Pride Program, Video Presentation at the American Public Health Association Annual Conference, October 2020

Bermúdez-Millán A, Wagner JA, Feinn RS, Segura-Pérez S, Damio G, Chhabra J, Pérez-Escamilla R. Inflammation and Stress Biomarkers Mediate the Association between Household Food Insecurity and Insulin Resistance among Latinos with Type 2 Diabetes. J Nutr. 2019 Jun 1;149(6):982-988. doi: 10.1093/jn/nxz021.
Barcelona de Mendoza V, Damio G, Evaluation of a culturally appropriate peer coaching program for smoking cessation. Public Health Nurs. 2018;00:1–10., https://doi.org/10.1111/phn.12542

Damio G, Ferraro M, London K, Pérez-Escamilla R, Wiggins N. Addressing Social Determinants of Health through Community Health Workers: A Call to Action, Hispanic Health Council Policy Brief, Hartford CT, January, 2018.

Wagner J, Bermúdez-Millán A, Damio G, Segura-Pérez S, Chhabra J, Vergara C, Feinn R, Pérez-Escamilla R, A Randomized, Controlled Trial of a Stress Management Intervention for Latinos with Type 2 Diabetes Delivered by Community Health Workers: Outcomes for Psychological Wellbeing, Glycemic Control, And Cortisol, Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice 120 (2016) 162-170

Bermúdez-Millán A, Pérez-Escamilla R, Segura-Pérez S, Damio G, Chhabra J, Osborn C and Wagner J, Psychological Distress Mediates the Association between Food Insecurity and Suboptimal Sleep Quality in Latinos with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, The Journal of Nutrition. First published ahead of print August 3, 2016 as doi: 10.3945/jn.116.231365.

Hromi-Fiedler A, Chapman D, Segura-Pérez S, Damio G, Clark P, Martinez J, Pérez Escamilla R, Barriers and Facilitators to Improve Fruit and Vegetable Intake Among WIC-Eligible Pregnant Latinas: An Application of the Health Action Process Approach Framework Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, Volume 48, Number 7, 2016