Founded in 1998, the Organization of Hispanic/Latin Americans of Anne Arundel County, Inc., generally referred to as OHLA, is a small organization of one full-time office manager and six volunteers. OHLA is dedicated to promoting the well-being of the Hispanic population of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. The primary focus is to assist Hispanic residents in resolving issues with government agencies, businesses, landlords, and healthcare providers as well as any legal issues that arise. These are challenges that Hispanics must often deal with but which pose difficulties due to language, educational and cultural hurdles. OHLA’s assistance helps them overcome these barriers across a wide range of issues. Additionally, Hispanic immigrants are currently under great stress due to the aggressive enforcement efforts of the federal government.
OHLA is very grateful for the grant of $5,000 from Anne Arundel Women Giving Together (AAWGT) for FY 2020, helping to cover the salary of the OHLA office manager/case worker. The office manager is essential for OHLA as she provides the continuity for the program while each of the six volunteers helps in the office one day a week. The office manager is there every day OHLA is open and carries a heavy case load. She is essential to OHLA’s ability to serve the many clients who come in for assistance.
OHLA’s office hours are 9:00 am to 1:00 pm Monday through Thursday. During this part time schedule OHLA assists between1,500 to 2,000 clients a year. OHLA staff help with any problem brought in the door from filling out a change of address form to helping prepare a citizenship application. Most clients come in for assistance in preparing applications to the Department of Social Services, the Department of Health and the Child Support Enforcement Office. OHLA also conducts a legal assistance clinic every Thursday that helps with family legal issues, immigration matters, taxes and other issues that clients have. AAWGT’s generous grant to OHLA is instrumental in enabling OHLA to continue to serve its many clients and accomplish its mission.
Education Meeting: The First 1,000 Days of a Child’s Life
February 5, 2020
Keynote Speaker, Dr. Brenda Jones Harden, set the stage for a powerful conversation about the critical needs of an infant, and the long-lasting effects of neglect. Her dynamic presentation before 141 attendees, described research demonstrating that brain growth starts prenatally, with peak development from two months to three years of age. She shared brain PET scans, comparing scans from a baby with a dependable caretaker, who regularly speaks, hugs, and interacts with the baby against the scans for a baby who did not have those benefits. The difference is striking. Neglected children suffer from long-lasting decreases in cognitive, language and social skills for the rest of their lives.
Evidence-based interventions for parent and child through private home visits, Early Head Start, Judy Centers, can make a difference—and the earlier the intervention, the more successful.
Shockingly, the U.S. lags behind other countries in quality early childcare. Tatiana Klein provided statistics from AA County. Tamira Dunn presented the wide range of services provided by the Judy Center program.
Find Dr. Harden’s presentation and more on this important subject here.
Barbershops and beauty salons have long been trusted gathering spaces. Dr. Stephen Thomas and the Health Advocates In-Reach & Research (H.A.I.R.) Program use the strength of this trusted relationship to bring critical health screenings and information into the community.
Our keynote, Dr. Thomas, UMD, School of Public Health, Dir. Center for Health Equity, began with the history of mistrust of doctors by persons of color due to the long history of unfair practices and mistreatment. He shared his research from the study at Tuskegee and highlighted the disparities in coronavirus sufferings. His research came to life when he showed us how life expectancy can be predicted based solely on your metro stop.
In a lively discussion, Dr. Thomas and barbers Mike Brown and Fred Spry explained how they bring nurses and physicians into their barbershop to screen for diabetes, colorectal cancer and hypertension, and to promote flu shots. The barbers leverage their trusted client relationships to save lives from the barber chair, and they teach healthcare workers to do the same.
This education program was presented via a Zoom webinar. A recording of this event may be found here.