Project Alcance

REACH: disease prevention through empowerment

This short documentary honors the women advocates involved with ALCANCE, a local chronic disease prevention education program. The true power of their work lies in sharing information and empowering members of the community. Produced by the Teen Producers Project at Media Arts Center San Diego.

Community Health Worker Academy Targets Latinas

The workshops are hosted by Project Concern International (PCI), an organization with programs globally and locally in San Diego.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that chronic diseases in the United States “are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths each year”.

PCI says that Latina women in low income neighborhoods are at even greater risk.

Connie Lafuente is the manager of PCI’s Project ALCANCE in San Diego.

“In those four specific areas: City Heights, Sherman Heights, Logan Heights, and National City,” said Lafuente, “the mortality rates for the Latina women are higher than anywhere in the county.”

Latinas in these neighborhoods are estimated to be “1.5 times more likely to die from chronic disease than the general population”, according to PCI.

Lafuente says this could be due to various barriers.

“It could be because of the poverty level, they don’t have access to care or services, could be that they’re undocumented and they’re afraid to go to the clinic,” she said.

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woman speaking

New $1.5 million project to improve health and well being of Latinos in San Diego

SAN DIEGO – A local nonprofit with global reach, PCI (Project Concern International), has launched a new project to improve the health and wellbeing of low-income Latinos in San Diego. The program provides community presentations on chronic disease prevention, Community Health Worker  leadership trainings, and convenes meetings with the San Diego Chronic Disease Coalition to help improve the lives of this vulnerable population.

Project ALCANCE, meaning “reach” in Spanish, stands for Advancing Latina Chronic Disease Prevention through Awareness, Networking, Collaboration and Education. It is a three-year project funded by a $1.5 million Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. REACH is a vital part of the CDC’s efforts to end racial and ethnic health gaps.

The project is expected to reach Latinos who live in City Heights, Barrio Logan, Sherman Heights and National City.

  • Workshops to develop Community Health Workers. These workshops prepare Latinos to be leaders and to impart health information in their community. Lessons include written and oral communication and an orientation to public education and policy. An additional goal is to prepare participants to pursue additional education.
  • Free customized presentations to groups. The bilingual health educators of Project ALCANCE give presentations in English and Spanish to non-profit organizations about how to prevent chronic diseases affecting Latinos. They customize each presentation to the group and leave behind informational material.

In all its activities, project ALCANCE shares vital information about symptoms of chronic diseases, how to minimize risk factors and lead a healthier lifestyle.

The Community Health Worker workshops are FREE, held at Project Concern International in San Diego office in City Heights, 4305 University Ave., Suite 330, San Diego 92105.

More information is available at or by phone at (619) 791-2610, ext. 323.

The ALCANCE team consists of seasoned professionals intimately familiar with the challenges and opportunities in the Latino community. They offer participants encouragement and support every step of the way in their training toward better lives and health.

alcalence group

Connie Lafuente on Real Talk San Diego

Real Talk San Diego airs weekdays from 10-noon and 1-2pm on ESPN 1700AM. The show features community business leaders and entrepreneurs sharing their insights and opinions on business, finance, real estate, political and lifestyle related topics that impact our communities.

Our mission is to educate and inform the listening audience by constantly challenging the national media’s sweeping generalizations and fear-based journalism so our listeners can make informed decisions about “the business of life” in America’s Finest City.

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Project Details

Chronic health conditions such as heart disease/stroke, diabetes, cancer and respiratory conditions are the leading cause of death and disability in the United States (Kung et al. 2008; Lui and Wallace, 2010; Sampson 2011).

Latina women in low-income areas of San Diego County get sicker and die more frequently of chronic disease than in the general population. In fact, death rates from these diseases are 1.5 higher for Latinos in Project ALCANCE target neighborhoods than in the overall population.

 The goal of ALCANCE is to reach Latinos who live in four low-income areas centered around City Heights, Barrio Logan, Sherman Heights and National City (zip codes92102, 92105, 92113 and 91950).

The three-year project is made possible with $1.5 million in funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Project Offers

All workshops are free and are held three times a week, and are 3 hours in length. The ALCANCE team offers participants encouragement and support every step of the way in their training toward better lives and health.

These include how to use a computer, searching the internet, personal finance such as budgeting and credit management, mental health, effective communication and GED preparation, all to prepare them for the workforce.

They will learn how they can minimize risk factors and lead a healthier lifestyle.

These women will learn leadership, communication and other organizing skills to be able to promote good health in the community.

The program includes practical experiences and training that will prepare the ALCANCE CHWs to pursue a health career at a higher level through the San Diego City College (SDCC) Community Health Worker Certificate Program.

Practicum opportunities for students include rotations through PCI’s Ventanilla de Salud (VDS) health education project at the Mexican Consulate in San Diego, and use of the Referral Pathway Tool to strengthen coordination of services and reduce waiting time for services.

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