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Summer 2004
Of the Community, By the Community,
For the Community
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A WISE CHOICE

Physician Michael Rodriquez and Nancy Hayes
UCLA family-medicine physician Michael A. Rodriguez and Nancy K. Hayes, faculty-community partners in the Healthy Abuelos, Healthy Los Angeles project

When UCLA family-medicine physician Michael A. Rodriguez M.D. '88 and the administrators of a Santa Monica-based nonprofit that aims to improve the quality of life for Los Angeles County seniors wanted to learn how to best educate elderly Latinos about the benefits of healthy living, they went straight to the source.

"We can't solve problems that elderly Latinos face by staying in our offices at UCLA," says Rodriguez, an associate professor specializing in the health-care needs of vulnerable populations. "We have to ask those we want to help what their views are. They have to have a say in what's going on."

Funded with a $30,000 grant, the Healthy Abuelos (Grandparents), Healthy Los Angeles project partners Rodriguez with WISE Senior Services to determine what obstacles aged Latinos may face in choosing healthy life-styles and accessing health and social services, and what messages and methods will be most effective in reaching them. Results will be used to develop an outreach campaign that encourages these seniors to make healthy life-style choices and link them to appropriate service providers.

It may seem like a common-sense approach to use the targets of a health-promotion campaign to help develop messages for that campaign. But the practice is not that common with seniors, says Nancy K. Hayes '86, president and chief executive officer of WISE Senior Services.

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