Celebrating Roxana Pineda Day in Austin
MCN's Roxana Pineda, Karen Mountain and Jimena De Leija
In Austin, Texas, November 3, 2022 was officially declared Roxana Pineda Day, named after Migrant Clinicians Network’s longtime Ventanilla de Salud Coordinator, Roxana Pineda, MPH. The honor, presented by Austin Mayor Steve Adler, was provided in recognition from the city for her tireless work supporting the health of Austin-area Latinx construction workers and their families, through her work with the US Hispanic Contractors Association as a consultant. Together, Pineda, with the Ventanilla de Salud, the health promotion agency within the Mexican Consulate in Austin, and Frank Fuentes, head of the US Hispanic Contractors Association (USHCA), organized and launched 90 health fairs at the Ventanilla, where they vaccinated thousands of people who otherwise would not have easy and free access to the vaccine.
When the vaccines first became available, most construction workers were unable to spend the time sitting in front of a computer trying to get an appointment and thus were at increased risk for COVID. An unlikely partnership between two people determined to change that made all the difference. Pineda and Fuentes, representing MCN and the USHCA, with the support of the Consul General, Pablo Marentes from the Mexican Consulate in Austin, were able to have an enormous impact.
“At the start of COVID, no one could get vaccines to the Mexican Consulate,” because of the high demand and short supply, noted Jimena De Leija, Promotora de salud who works closely with Pineda at the Ventanilla de Salud. Appointments for the vaccine were only available online, which limited access for many low-income and low-literacy community members. By partnering with Fuentes and USHCA, Pineda was able to develop far-reaching health fairs that not only got COVID Spanish-language information and resources, testing, and vaccines to the community, but also provided hundreds of kidney screenings, blood pressure readings, eye exams, and much more at each of the health fairs. “This collaboration was huge for the Mexican community, who see this space as a safe place,” De Leija added.
The text of the proclamation says:
“Proclamation: Be it known that, whereas, Roxana Pineda contributed her time and energy to support the US Hispanic Contractors Association as a tireless advocate and consultant to assist the US Hispanic Contractors Association to open COVID-19 testing and vaccine clinics in concert with the Consulado General de Mexico and Ventanilla de Salud; and, whereas, the ability to test and vaccinate thousands of Austinites was instrumental in saving immeasurable health and financial hardship and lives of our residents. Now, therefore, I, Steve Adler, Mayor of the City of Austin, Texas, do hereby proclaim November 3, 2022 as Roxana Pineda Day in Austin.”
Congratulations to Pineda, the entire Ventanilla de Salud team, and to Frank Fuentes and the US Hispanic Contractors Association, for the recognition of your incredible work over the course of the pandemic! The partnership will continue to work on COVID issues as well as begin to address other urgent health needs of the Latinx worker community including diabetes.
Watch Ventanilla de Salud Austin’s Facebook page for upcoming health fairs and other events.
Read more about MCN’s Ventanilla de Salud work.