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York to host second annual statewide Latino Health Summit

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George Fernandez
George Fernandez - (Photo / )

The second annual statewide Latino Health Summit will be held in York City.

The announcement was made during a Feb. 19 breakfast reception and press conference at the Appell Center for the Performing Arts, at 50 N. George St. in downtown York

The summit is scheduled for April 17 and 18 at the York Expo Center at 334 Carlisle Ave. and will be hosted by the Harrisburg-based Latino Connection, in collaboration with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs and York City.

The summit was held last year in Lancaster as a one-day event and was attended by over 400 people from over 30 counties across Pennsylvania and from five states.

The event will be expanded this year to two days and will include more vendors, more public access and the introduction of fitness activities and teaching workshops. The event will take place between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. both days.

The summit was created in response to a 2017 report released by USA Today that ranked Pennsylvania as the second-worst state in the nation for Hispanics and Latinos to live in, according to George Fernandez, founder and CEO of Latino Connection. This year, the county’s state ranking improved only slightly, from second to fourth, Fernandez said.

Fernandez said the summit's goal is to ensure that Latino Americans in Pennsylvania have access to affordable health care and understand what they need to do to gain access.

“It’s this balance of socio-economic synergies that all Americans deserve: to live, work, play and to thrive,” he said.

York City Mayor Michael Helfrich voiced his support for the summit and said that city is also working on enhancing services to the Latino community by hiring Spanish-speaking employees in government positions.

“When one person or one group is not getting everything they need to be their best, then we are not at our best,” he said.

Helfrich said the summit is important for York because the Latino population has been growing rapidly. Between 2000 and 2014, the Latino population in the county grew by 155 percent and now represents its largest minority group, he said.

“We hope that by working together we can improve not only the health and well-being of the Latino community, but also open up career paths, as there is a great demand for bilingual individuals within the medical field,” he said.

Senior LIFE, a local healthcare program, will provide free transportation for York County seniors. The summit will be sponsored by Aetna and WellSpan Health.

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Maria Yohn Nease

Maria Yohn Nease covers banking, finance and York county. Have a tip or question for her? Email her at mnease@cpbj.com.

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