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!

EPES is experiencing a perfect storm this year – but it’s not too late to help this great work continue!

Dear friends of EPES and AHA,

I see the above photograph from a recent EPES workshop on women’s health and I am reminded of so many things I like about the work of EPES, starting with the way they have consistently built community in the midst of poverty, discrimination and natural disasters, over more than three decades. I am moved by how these circles of education and support have spread across some 21 countries through EPES’ International Training Program and how EPES designed and implemented a Community Health Agent program for all of Chile.

 

To learn more about these and all of EPES’ programs, please take a look at the most recent EPES Updates available on our website. The November 2018 Update clearly demonstrates the impact of your dollars—from local healthy eating workshops to international collaboration with Puerto Rico and the Hope Foundation for African Women. GRACIAS to all of you who have so steadily supported the mission of EPES and helped make this possible!

 

The Action for Health in the Americas (AHA) all-volunteer board recently met via conference call to discuss EPES’ budget and how AHA can continue to help stabilize those finances. EPES’ operating budget is made up of a variety of grants and donations, and AHA has historically contributed (because of YOUR donations) about 15% of that budget.

 

Things have changed quite a bit during the course of 2018. EPES is encountering what we consider to be a “perfect storm” of factors that are negatively impacting its budget and work. Those factors are:
  1. Chile is considered an “High Income Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Country” and, as such, is not eligible for international donations that are tied to that classification, even though so many Chileans—especially the ones EPES works with—live in deep poverty.
  2. Chile is one of the most unequal countries in the world and the benefits of the higher income economy are not fairly distributed (among OECD countries, Chile is THE MOST unequal).
  3. The right-wing government of Sebastian Piñera took office this past March, and has cut many of the primary health care initiatives that EPES was able to receive funding to implement. For example, EPES is a key trainer in the government’s Community Health Agent program, generating more than US$400,000 in 2017—but that is dropping to US$0 in 2019.
  4. A Harvard study found that Chile is a country with one of the lowest levels of philanthropic giving.

The support you provide through AHA is incredibly important at this moment! Virtually all of the donations you make via AHA—minus minor costs like bank transfer or credit card processing fees—go directly to EPES to help fill in gaps in their budget, without the strings that come attached to many grants and institutional donations. This type of support is critical for EPES to be able to stay flexible, continue to keep staff on board, and implement their many high-impact programs.

Thank you AGAIN for your ongoing support of EPES. If you have plans to make any final 2018 contributions to organizations doing good work, please do consider AHA and EPES!

You may DONATE ONLINE HERE or send 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

AHA is recognized as tax-exempt by the IRS under Section 501(c)(3) and donations are deductible as allowable by the IRS.

Best wishes for the new year!
Chris Mills MD FRCPC
AHA Board President

EPES has been busy in 2018 – read the November Update here!

Dear friends of EPES and AHA,

As you will see in this Update, EPES is tireless in its commitment to health and human  rights—in the Nutrition and Justice Program; in Valparaiso, where communities that are still recovering from devastating fires in 2014 are now facing personal tragedy; in training workers of Chile’s National Disability Service; and in Puerto Rico, where EPES staff shared lessons from their earthquake recovery experience with communities affected by Hurricane María.

This important—more than important, essential—work would not be possible without your continuing support. Heartfelt thanks for your solidarity. I wish you peace and health in 2019.

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

Read the Update here! https://ahaepes.files.wordpress.com/2018/11/epesupdatenov2018.pdf

Support the work of EPES – via a tax deductible online donation through AHA – at https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/ActionforHealthintheAmeri/donate.html!

The May 2018 EPES Update is Here!

**Read the May 2018 EPES Update here**

Please consider donating to support this great work by clicking on Donate!

Dear friends of EPES and AHA,

I don’t know about you, but lately it seems to me that the news is just one disaster after another, whether it be an earthquake, a flood, a tornado, a forest fire or a volcanic eruption. And that’s just the natural disasters, never mind the social ones we humans wreak with our greedy strivings. With the election of billionaire Sebastián Piñera as president, things look particularly bleak in Chile. There is widespread anxiety about what it will mean for health policy nationally, for funding for local efforts that have been so crucial to EPES’ work, and in general for Chilean society, already one of the most unequal on the planet. While Chile’s macroeconomic indicators look favorable, they mask huge income gaps within Chilean society; e.g., the top 1% bring in more than 30% of GDP, the top 10% more than 75%. And these gaps are reflected in health disparities.

The communities where EPES works have a heavy disease burden, compounded by the insecurity brought on by the increasing presence of drug trafficking and violence. When all this starts to overwhelm me, learning about EPES’ latest activities never fails to revive my spirits. When I was in Chile in March, I was honoured with an invitation to dinner during EPES’ annual planning retreat and had a chance to witness some of their discussions. I was literally moved to tears by the team’s dedication and passion, evident in every word and gesture.

This January saw the ninth delivery of the Escuela, EPES’ International Course on Popular Education in Health. There are now 167 graduates from 21 countries! I was particularly moved to learn of the participation of three women from Puerto Rico who are applying the EPES model in their work of recovery and community building in the aftermath of Hurricane María. With hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans still without power six months after the disaster, such work is vital.

Also in January, EPES provided Health Ministry primary care staff with training on participatory community strategies for health, part of an ongoing series of workshops through which EPES helps Chile’s health workforce develop essential competencies for working with communities.

When forest fires engulfed thousands of homes in Valparaiso in 2014, EPES was right there, one of the first organizations to respond to the emergency. EPES continues to demonstrate that it is in it for the long haul. This Update shares details of a fire prevention project in the Las Cañas community of Valparaiso, aimed at reducing vulnerability to fires by building public awareness and community capacity for fire prevention, control and management.

Other articles in this Update describe health group priority setting, EPES’ ongoing work on nutrition and food security, international influence, and the launch of a short video celebrating EPES’ 35 years working for health, dignity and justice in Chile.

The late Tommy Douglas once said, “Courage, my friends. ‘Tis not too late to build a better world.” Let us all take courage from EPES’ example. And thank you so, so much for all you do to support EPES in continuing to build that better world.

In solidarity,

Christina Mills MD FRCPC

President, Action for Health in the Americas