When does your $100 equal $138?

Read the May EPES Update here!

Dear friends of EPES and AHA ,

Needless to say that Covid 19 has affected everyone. EPES, as we and its community have come to expect, once again has stepped up during this extraordinary times to go above and beyond in supporting those who need it most. Through your generosity, EPES continues to meet these challenges head on. This May’s EPES Update focuses on what EPES has been able to quickly do to address the new needs of the communities they work with.

Fortunately – yes fortunately – your contribution provides more benefit than ever. Due to the strong dollar and the very weak Chilean peso, we are quickly converting US dollar contributions into Chilean pesos, reaping a benefit of approximately 38%….in other words, for every $1 you donate, it will be equivalent to $1.38.

We are so thankful for your continued support to EPES. If you are able to, we hope you will consider making a contribution now so that we can take advantage the the favorable exchange rate and help EPES to stretch their budget.

Many thanks,

The Action for Health in the Americas Board

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

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