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STORY PROVIDED BY Prospera Institute April 7, 2023, 13:34PM
According to the Pew Research Center, approximately 60.6 million Hispanics—about 18 percent of the U.S. population—live in the United States, with roots in Latin America and the Caribbean. Within this population exist approximately seventeen subcultures originating from the African and Indigenous diasporas.
Prospera Institute [Prospera] understands that Latino communities are not monolithic, and that cultural traditions, beliefs, and moral values inform how communities interact with systems that dictate health. We also understand that population health issues are best addressed by communities directly impacted by social, political, and economic factors.
Founded in 2019 as the LatinX Bioethics grassroots coalition, LatinX Bioethics, Inc. DBA, Prospera Institute was founded by Joanne Suarez, artivist and public health ethicist. Prospera Institute is the first minority woman-founded and -led interdisciplinary research institute of its kind centering a minority public health ethics.
Joanne has worked in racial health equity and community strategy for 10+ years. Her community health work has positively impacted quality of life for thousand of Latino, Black and Indigenous residents in the greater Boston Area.
When she entered the Master of Bioethics program at Harvard Medical School in 2018, she was deeply saddened by the lack of racial representation of Latinos in the subfield. She quickly learned that she occupied a graduate seat as the first Afro-Latina in the history of the graduate degree program. Joanne sought to activate social change, leveraging her social justice activism toolkit to uplift the Latino voice in discourse.
Her capstone thesis research centered increasing representation of Latinos in the field [bioethics] and creating a framework to addressing ethical and moral issues impacting Latino communities. Her capstone thesis "Addressing Whiteness in Bioethics: A Need for a LatinX Bioethics subfield" (unpublished) traced the historical voices, contemporaries, case studies and social aesthetic movements that uplift a Latino public health and social ethics.
Simultaneously, she led establishing a LatinX Bioethics coalition, which became the LatinX Bioethics affinity group with the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities in 2019. To date, members of the coalition have conducted a variety of presentations centering Latino health, published in academic journals, grown the Latino voice in bioethics, and used academic tools to generate efforts that are culturally informed and significant for Latino communities.
LatinX Bioethics, Inc. underwent a social name change in 2023; the name change ensures that communities are included and socialized to our mission and vision: a world of racial health equity for Latino, Black and Indigenous communities.
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Prospera Institute, Boston, humbly acknowledges that the places where we eat, sleep, pray and work sits within the traditional, ancestral and stolen land of the Massachusetts Ponkapoag /ˈpɒŋkəpɔːɡ, tribe whose name was appropriated by this Commonwealth. We continue to survive honoring the elders through cultural practices; expressive arts ie.“areytos”/storytelling, prayer, reflection thus resisting systemic oppression and reclaiming liberation in public health and social practices.
YOU, TOO, CAN TACKLE HEALTH EQUITY THROUGH SOCIAL ACTION.
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