Posted on October 10, 2005

Clinic Week Aims to Even up Health Disparities

Lupita Figueiredo, Oakland Tribune, Oct. 8

OAKLAND — Undocumented immigrants in Northern California can receive free health services and information during the fifth Binational Health Week, which starts this weekend.

Vision and dental screenings, blood — pressure checks, mammograms, cancer workshops and other services will be offered at Alameda County health centers, community clinics and a few private hospitals today through Oct. 17.

But the emphasis will be on providing information about low-cost health insurance programs available to immigrant families but often not used. Organizers say many families do not know the programs exist or are afraid to go because of their immigration status.

“We understand Latino immigrants lack access to medical services. We have a responsibility to respond to their health needs,” said Arnold Perkins, director of the Alameda County Public Health Department.

Mental health disorders and related illnesses are now among the primary concerns.