Newswise — Lisa Sanchez-Johnsen, PhD, associate professor in Rush University’s Department of Family Medicine, was among the participants in a virtual Puerto Rican/Latinx Health Summit. Held by the Puerto Rican Agenda of Chicago, in partnership with organizations from across the nation the summit was livestreamed on April 22 (the first day of the summit scheduled for April 21 was postponed due to cybersecurity issues). 

The summit examined and disseminated the latest data and information concerning the state of Latinx health, with discussions of the many social, economic, educational and political determinant of health care that affect the social-well-being of Puerto Ricans and other Latinx communities. 

Over the past year, public attention has been solely focused on COVID-19 infections, testing, deaths, and vaccinations. “Unfortunately, little attention has been paid to the fact that there has been a significant increase in deaths among minorities and other vulnerable groups beyond the pandemic. This is primarily due to the fact that minority communities experienced poor access to quality medical care and poor management of chronic conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, asthma, cancer, and cardiovascular conditions,” said Aida L. Giachello, PhD, chair of the Puerto Rican Agenda’s Health and Wellness Committee.

During the summit, Sanchez-Johnsen, who is a member of the health and wellness team for the Puerto Rican Agenda, presented a talk titled “Puerto Rican-Centered Obesity Research.” 

“My research focuses on obesity, physical activity, body image assessments and interventions in Puerto Rican and Mexican communities,” explains Sanchez-Johnsen. “Puerto Ricans have among the highest rates of obesity within various Latinx ethnic groups and it is important to allocate more resources and funding, as well as conduct research and outreach, as well as clinical and educational programs, that includes Puerto Ricans in particular, due to the increased risk of certain health issues in this community.”

You can watch Sanchez-Johnsen’s presentation and other sessions in English and Spanish on the Puerto Rican Agenda website.