According to the Migration Policy Institute, Florida is home to 1.6 million Caribbean immigrants, representing approximately 41 percent of the Caribbean immigrant population in the United States. The South Florida tri-county area comprises three quarters of these individuals, most of whom hail from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago. They speak a variety of languages and have diverse cultural health beliefs and practices.
A disproportionate number of these individuals are more susceptible to obesity and related diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and stroke. Certain populations also have a higher risk of certain types of cancer.
Led by Farzanna S. Haffizulla, M.D., FACP, FAMWA, chair of the Department of Internal Medicine at NSU’s Dr. Kiran C. Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Caribbean Diaspora Health Initiative was established to provide patients in this population with improved access to education, resources and care—and to ultimately help prevent these incidences. The effort consists of multiple projects and pools resources from partners throughout the community to advance the health of the Caribbean population in South Florida.
For more information, please visit us at www.nsucaribbeanhealth.com
Based on available food, geography and other factors, many Caribbean cultures maintain diets heavy in fats, sugar and sodium. These ingredients can cause greater risk of obesity, which can result in major health complications such as diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and stroke. To address this issue, the College of Osteopathic Medicine and its partners are developing a targeted, culturally appropriate educational communication campaign focused on improving nutrition among the Caribbean immigrant population. Based on the National Institutes of Health’s Go, Slow, Whoa materials, the campaign will use a traffic light pattern to help people select healthier alternatives.
The initial phase of this research project is supported by a grant from the NSU Quality of Life Council. Community partners include the Florida Department of Health in Broward County, Broward Regional Health Planning Council, YMCA, Children Services Council, Family Nutrition Project – Broward Division, Broward County Libraries and the Broward Sheriff’s Office.
Expanding on its health equity focus, the college plans to create the first community-based registry to collect epidemiologic and social determinants of the most prevalent malignancies in Caribbean immigrants. This will catalyze the development of targeted interventions for disease prevention, cancer screenings and education that align with Caribbean culture and ethnic preferences. Our goal is to build the infrastructure to communicate best practices in cancer care, diagnosis and prevention to health care providers and patients in our local communities.
This long-term project will support a statewide, coordinated system of cancer care for the Caribbean diaspora aimed at improving health behaviors, infrastructure, access and collaboration among academic and community-based services.
As a college focused on community and global health, we are committed to aligning our work with ongoing health care initiatives and promoting synergy among our collaborators that strengthens our mission and vision—and ultimately establishes a healthy ecosystem.
If you or your organization have shared values and wish to collaborate with the college, please contact Farzanna S. Haffizulla at email@example.com.
Together, we will make great positive impact on the health and wellness of our growing Caribbean community. Financial help will bolster and amplify our work in support of health equity and strengthen our ability to eliminate health disparities as we move closer toward achieving our Healthy People 2020 goals. With your help, we will make positive strides to stamp out diabetes, heart disease, stroke and cancer for our Caribbean people.
If you or your organization have shared values and wish to collaborate with the Diaspora Health Initiative, please submit your information to firstname.lastname@example.org and a member of our team will reach out to you. If you or your family is from the Caribbean, please indicate which island in the email.