Action for Health in the Americas (AHA)

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Action for Health in the Americas (AHA) is the North American counterpart of Educación Popular En Salud (EPES), based in Chile. EPES has been supporting sustainable community-based public health initiatives among the poor in Chile since 1982.

We believe in the power of people to promote their own healthy communities, given the proper financial, educational and technical support.

AHA was founded in 2006 to ensure that supporters in the U.S. received regular updates on the work of EPES and could make tax-deductible donations that would immediately support the work of EPES.

In addition to donating via AHA to support the work of EPES, read this flyer to find out other creative ways you can support EPES!

19 Graduate from the 11th International Training Course!

Read the EPES Update on the 11th International Training Program here!

Dear Friends of EPES,

EPES’ 11th International Training Program (the Escuela) was held during the third month of national protests in Chile. Ninety-four percent of Chileans are demanding a change of the 1980 Constitution in order to be able to build a fairer country. The demands of the social movement are the right to education and health, pensions and living wages. EPES supports the Chilean people in their struggle for dignity and justice, and condemns the state terrorism that prevails in the country. The police repression has been denounced by four international human rights organizations, such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. The National Institute of Human Rights has received 4,780 complaints as of January 15, 2020, for homicides, torture, mutilation, arbitrary detentions, sexual violence, among other human rights violations; and has filed 1,118 legal actions in favor of 1,476 victims.

The EPES team evaluated whether or not to hold the Escuela following months of extreme unrest and police violence. In mid December, we agreed that the situation was calm enough (due to the summer) to carry it out without risks for the participants. We are happy to share this Update of the events of the XI International Escuela. We had an incredible group of 19 committed young people from 8 Latin American countries.
Blessings to all and thank you for your love and support,
Karen Anderson
ELCA Global Mission Personnel in Chile
Director, EPES International Training Program

From Seed to Your Plate – Order Your Game Today!

AHA is excited to share information about EPES’ new educational board game: From Seed to Your Plate!

From Seed to Your Plate is a Spanish language board game developed by EPES for health and educational professionals, community members, high school and college students, social and/or political organizations.

Group playing De la semilla al plato

The game invites players to engage in conversation and analyze the economic, political, social and cultural factors that influence what we eat and how it affects our health and environment.

From Seed to Your Plate facilitates and stimulates critical analysis and consciousness raising necessary to motivate collective actions to bring about changes to food environments. The game is designed to illustrate changes we have witnessed in the global food system in the past 40 years, and explore ideas of how to resist Big Food and Big Agriculture.

  • Good for 2-8 Players
  • Ages 14+
  • No previous knowledge about food or nutrition is required to play
  • De la semilla al plato has been field-tested with community members and health professionals (2019 edition available in Spanish only)

Check out our website to learn more and order a game today!

Please join us at the Salud a la Calle fundraiser January 10th in NYC!

Friends of EPES and AHA:

The resistance movement in Chile that you read about in the last EPES Update continues, and as you know it has been met with violent and criminal treatment by the Chilean police and military.

Salud a la Calle is a group of medical providers (doctors, nurses, EMT workers, etc.) organized to assist demonstrators that have been wounded by the police in Chile’s recent popular demonstrations. They have just opened a small permanent clinic (policlinico de atencion) for follow-up of the wounded.

If you are in the New York City area, please come out to their fundraiser on January 10th to support their great work. Details in poster below!

EPES Update Highlights EPES Response to Current Unrest in Chile

Read the Fall 2019 EPES Update here

Dear friends of EPES,

You are probably aware that, for the past several weeks, Chile has been experiencing brutal repression such as has not been seen since the years of Pinochet’s dictatorship.

It began with student protests of a 30-peso (4 cent) transit fare increase, but, as a widespread graffiti declares, it’s not the 30 pesos, it’s the 30 years! The protests and the disproportionately violent response of Chile’s militarized police, ignited unrest that had been simmering from years of Pinochet-imposed policies that persisted into the era of supposed democracy:

  • privatized pension funds that make investors immensely rich while Chileans can’t afford to live on their monthly retirement checks;
  • privatized health care and defunding of the public health sector, leading to unnecessary deaths and suffering;
  • privatized education that led to the highest tuition fees in the world (and, for many, worthless degree-mill credentials);
  • privatized water supply (considered a public good everywhere else in the world);
  • a tax system that transfers money from the poor to the rich;
  • systematic encroachment and repression of Mapuche indigenous communities that stand up for their rights and autonomy.

All these elements are integral to the neoliberal economic model that gives Chile the highest level of income inequality among OECD countries and one of the highest in the world. According to the UN, the richest 1% of Chileans hold 33% of the nation’s wealth.

Rather than respond substantively to the just demands of burgeoning social movements, the Piñera government doubled down with dictatorship-era repression, with a brutality that has stunned observers and human rights organizations around the world. After a fact-finding visit to Chile, this week Amnesty International concluded that police deliberately commit human rights violations and shoot to injure demonstrators to discourage the social movement. The president, who a month ago, said the government was at war—against its own people— refuses to take responsibility. But, to paraphrase Einstein, peace is not the absence of war; it’s the presence of justice.

I’m very much afraid that things are going to get worse before they get better, because the wealthy won’t easily give up their privilege, and the Chilean people, now awakened to the full scope of their oppression, will not go back to submission and misery. As another popular graffiti puts it, We’ve lost everything, even our fear.

EPES and AHA are deeply grateful for your support over the years, so indispensable to sustainability for almost four decades. We count on your continued generosity in your year-end giving. Now, more than ever, EPES desperately needs your help to keep standing with and providing essential tools to the Chilean people, protesting structural inequalities, calling out human rights violations, and demanding the right to health and a dignified life for all.

Read the Fall 2019 EPES Update here.

In solidarity and peace,

Christina Mills MD FRCPC
President, Action for Health in the Americas

P.S. Thank you in advance for making a donation to EPES TODAY! To make a tax-deductible contribution to EPES, donate online at www.actionforhealth.org or mail a check made out to “Action for Health in the Americas” to:

Action for Health in the Americas c/o Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
4 Northcrest Drive
Clifton Park, NY 12065-2744 USA

Special EPES Update Featuring New Immigrant Health Project!

Read the special September 2019 EPES Update here!

Sept2019UpdateCover

We always welcome donations but especially now – you can donate online by clicking “Donate” in the menu above or going directly to https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/ActionforHealthintheAmeri/donate.html. Thank you for your ongoing support!

Dear friends of EPES,

Action for Health in the Americas’ board of directors met in August and decided to send an additional Update this year (electronically only) for two reasons. First, to introduce our supporters to the new immigrant health project that EPES is starting and second, to once again ask for your generous support. As we outlined in the previous Update, EPES is facing a complex financial time and needs our additional support.

At that meeting we were able to Skype in members of EPES’ leadership team to hear in more detail about the challenges they are facing and how they are working to address them. What we heard left us in complete awe. To help resolve EPES’ financial crisis, staff have voluntarily received a 20% pay cut, effectively subsidizing EPES while they continue to do groundbreaking work in such a wide range of areas—nutrition, prevention of violence against women, tobacco control, training and mentoring community health promoters, their International Training Program, mobilizing for justice and dignity in health, and so much more.

In these times when so many frightening ultraconservative populist movements are on the rise, we need to support organizations like EPES that continue the hard day-to-day work of building a more just world, a world where there is space for everyone and all can enjoy lives of health and dignity. On behalf of EPES and the thousands of people who benefit from EPES’ work, I thank you in advance for any extra support you can provide.

Peace and blessings,

ChrisSig

Christina Mills MD FRCPC

EPES needs our help! Can you help us raise $30,000 by June 30th?

The May 2019 EPES Update is here! We hope you’ll take the time to read about all the great work EPES has been doing lately, but we ask that you first read about the serious situation EPES is currently facing in the letter from the EPES Director and AHA President below. We always welcome donations but especially now – you can donate online at https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/ActionforHealthintheAmeri/donate.html. Thank you for your ongoing support!

Dear Friends,
We are facing a perfect financial storm at EPES. We know that with the growth of
extreme right-wing governments throughout the Americas, including Chile, many
justice-oriented, community-based groups are facing major financial challenges.
We are among them. We have lost almost 40% of our funding because of the
combination of changing government priorities and Chile’s deceptively rosy
economic performance.

Because you are long-time friends and supporters of EPES, we wanted to tell you
what is happening and ask for your help.

In 2017, Chileans elected a right-wing government whose priorities in health no
longer include work like ours. The Community Health Agent initiative that we
developed for the Ministry of Health was defunded and all the people in charge of
this program were fired. EPES lost 30% of its’ funding when this program was cut.
Also in 2017, Chile joined the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and
Development), the exclusive club of the world’s more developed economies (with
little regard for how the wealth is distributed within each country). As a result,
many international organizations can no longer provide funds to Chile. For EPES, this
change resulted in our losing $100,000 in funding from Tobacco Free Kids.

As we celebrate 37 years of work to defend and promote health, dignity and human
rights, we are proud to share some impacts that we never could have imagined
when we started EPES. Please click here to read about those impacts.

We have so many wonderful programs and have remained a beacon of hope for
many. In the spirit of justice and solidarity, we invite you to help us now.

We ask for your financial support through our partner Action for Health in the Americas (AHA). To give to EPES, donate online via www.actionforhealth.org or send your tax-deductible contribution to:

Action for Health in the Americas
c/o Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
4 Northcrest Drive
Clifton Park, NY 12065-2744 USA

Make checks payable to: Action for Health in the Americas. Our goal is to raise US$30,000 by June 30th.

Thank you in advance for your gift. We are forever grateful for the wide network of friends who have helped keep EPES strong for so many years. Gracias for supporting our work for health, dignity and justice!

Warm regards,

Sonia Covarrubias
Executive Director
EPES Foundation

Christina Mills, MD FRCPC
President
Action for Health in the Americas

You can read more about EPES’ recent work in the May 2019 EPES Update, available here!

Recap from the 10th International Training School!

We’re so excited to share this beautiful summary and photos demonstrating the incredible impact of the EPES International Training School on Popular Education in Health. Held January 6th-16th in Chile, this year marked the 10th for the “Escuela” and resulted in its 187th graduate. AHA is so proud to be a part of EPES and be able to help them implement programs like this! We hope you feel the same!

Read the summary here!