Latino Connection Honored with 2024 CMS Health Equity Award for Pioneering CATE Initiative

Latino Connection was recently honored as a recipient of the 2024 CMS Health Equity Award, a prestigious recognition granted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of Minority Health, to organizations that have shown exceptional commitment to advancing health equity by reducing disparities in healthcare access, quality and outcomes. Awardees were recognized at the CMS Health Equity Conference held on Thursday, May 30, at the Hyatt Regency in Bethesda, Maryland. 

Latino Connection, widely known for its innovative, human-centered initiatives that embrace diversity and meet people where they are, was carefully selected by the awarding body for its Community-Accessible Testing & Education (CATE) initiative. This groundbreaking effort, led by founder and CEO George Fernandez, provides critical support to populations disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including minorities, low-income individuals, LGBTQ+ communities and those residing in urban areas. As the visionary and lead executor of this initiative, Fernandez also became the first Latino and LBGTQ+ business to launch such a program in the United States.

“Initiatives like CATE showcase the transformative power of community-driven interventions in addressing health disparities and hopefully encourage other organizations to take action as well,” said Fernandez during a plenary session alongside other award recipients, where they shared insights and strategies that have contributed to their success in advancing health equity for all.

About CATE

Launched in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CATE addresses critical disparities in access to essential resources and education among underserved communities, improving health equity and ensuring that vulnerable populations receive the care and information they need during difficult times.

CATE has been instrumental in delivering COVID-19 testing and educational resources to communities in Pennsylvania disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Through mobile units and community partnerships, CATE has reached more than 37,000 people (who attended all of their community events combined), offering accessible and culturally competent services and resources, in both English and Spanish, to bridge the gap in healthcare disparities.

Beyond its immediate impact, CATE continues to serve as a beacon of hope and resilience in the face of ongoing health challenges. By partnering with organizations such as Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) and MyVaccineCounts, CATE has expanded its efforts to include vaccination clinics and educational events, furthering its mission of promoting health equity and empowerment.

For more information about CATE, visit https://catemobileunit.com/.

About Latino Connection

Latino Connection, a Color & Culture Catalyst, is a national leader in outreach and education specifically targeted at reaching low-income, underserved communities. The organization’s innovative approach to modern healthcare meets people where they are, breaks down all barriers that stand in the way and builds an authentic and trustworthy relationship for the brands it represents. Learn more at https://latinoconnection.org/

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