Introduction

An Inaugural Collection

INTRODUCTION

​​ Health care (public health, medicine, nursing, dentistry, etc.) work is both a science and an art.  Health care research continues to demonstrate the value of incorporating other forms of art in practicing the health professions.  The tool kit includes poetry that health professionals can utilize for their patients, their communities, and themselves.
 
The Latinx Caucus for Public Health (LCPH), affiliate of the American Public Health Association (APHA) since 1973, meets at the APHA annual meeting.  The LCPH mission includes advocacy for the health and well-being of Latinx people and communities in order to influence social reform and eliminate inequities.  One objective is “to empower Latinx to use their voices to speak out on Latinx-focused health issues …” and poetry can reach wide audiences in this important advocacy to influence social reform.  Thus, this collection of poetry on Latinx health and/or by Latinx health professionals (mostly) came to be.

I shared my poems at the LCPH dinners/fiestas at APHA meetings in Denver in 2010, San Francisco in 2012, and San Diego in 2018.  Many colegas commented that they also had written poems.  I suggested this poem collection project to the LCPH board of directors in December 2018; they approved and helped support it.  We asked submitters that the work relate in some way to Latinx health.  We recommended poetry or prose forms; bilingual, or English or Spanish.  We requested that the work be original, and length up to about 400 words.

In this collection we have 17 author poets from throughout the U.S. who produced 48 poems.  Where we use Spanish words, they are italicized in most poems.  A date at the bottom of each poem indicates when it was created or finalized. 

The poems reveal our experiences, observations, reflections, concerns, wishes/desires, and demonstrate nicely why most of us are in the health professions or otherwise have a passion y ganas to improve not just our lives but the lives of our communities, our gente.  

Salud y Saludos a Todos,
Álvaro Garza, MD MPH, Editor y Poeta
August 2019
 
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