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Medical students highlight dangers of hypertension at Hispanic Heritage Month Concert

The University of Toledo's club of pre-medical students, Spanish Médica, had a tent at the event where they worked to inform the community about hypertension.

TOLEDO, Ohio — In downtown Toledo, to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month, Adelante, The Latino Resource Center hosted its second annual Kick-off Concert to celebrate Latino culture, music and food. While the event was well attended with community members watching performances, getting food and bonding with family and friends, they were also learning about their blood pressure. 

The University of Toledo's club of pre-medical students, Spanish Médica, set up a tent during the Hispanic heritage month celebration to inform the community about the more than 30% of Hispanic/Latino Americans, club president Aastha Bhavsar explained, who suffer from hypertension. 

"[The club] aims to identify linguistic inequities in health care, and learn and practice Spanish medical terminology to bridge the communication gap in health care," said Bhavsar. 

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Spanish Médica took the suggestion of the Journal of the American Heart Association, who noted to improve the rates of hypertension treatment and control among Hispanic/Latino Americans was through broad‐based public health strategies, i.e. a booth one of the city's larger cultural events of the year. Within the first few hours, medical student Justin Franco noted they'd taken the blood pressure of more than 10 event attendees.

"For some of them their blood pressure were running a bit high so we were able to counsel them and give them some good advice about following up with their primary care physician. and just keeping on top of their blood pressure," said Franco.

The Association found during a six-year study, 1 in 5 US Hispanic/Latino Americans developed Hypertension, with rates of hypertension treatment and control low across all Hispanic/Latino American background groups. Thus, with data like that club member Alayna Curran explained that issues with hypertension are preventable.

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Spanish Médica spoke to attendees of all ages, medical student Krupa Bhavsar explained to Gabriel Gamez that thinking about blood pressure, even at a young age, is important. Gamez admitted he didn't understand it all but appreciated that the club was there and willing to talk to the community.

In addition to taking blood pressure readings, the students handed out informational pamphlets between performances. The aim was to give attendees helpful preventative information to share along with all the food and fun of the concert.

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