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Ascension Via Christi reaches underserved at Cafe con Leche

Café Con Leche, an annual health and wellness fair designed to better meet the needs of native Spanish speakers, recently held its 20th event — drawing more than 750 people, including 150 children, in just five hours. 

Services included clinical breast exams, vision and dental screenings, flu shots, glucose checks, a safe sleep class for new and expectant parents, and more.

“This was a great opportunity for us to identify needs in our community beyond simply their medical needs, such as food, housing, transportation and other factors that affect their health,” said Alison Hodge, manager of Transitional Care for Ascension Via Christi, who led a group of Ascension Medical Mission volunteers helping attendees complete a demographic and social determinants survey and identify additional community resources for follow-up services.

Of the 375 attendees who completed surveys, nearly 9 out of 10 of the attendees were uninsured.

“From the data, we also found that a large number of the participants indicated high levels of stress and we were able to connect them with members of our Behavioral Health team, who staffed a table offering stress management tips and activities,” says Hodge.

Other Ascension Via Christi participants included Lucy Torres and Nora Martinez, insurance navigators with Ascension Via Christi’s Cancer Outreach and Risk Assessment program, and Dee Ann Bragg, MD, a member of the Ascension Via Christi Family Medicine Residency program faculty, who helped provide free sports physicals and medical evaluations.

“This event provided us with a great opportunity to expand our annual Medical Mission from one day of free healthcare each year to other events throughout the year,” says Ascension Medical Group Via Christi’s Claudio Ferraro, who along with Phil Newlin, MD, serves as executive sponsor for the program.

Hodge, noting that planning is already underway for an April 18 day of free healthcare, says, “We also were able to incorporate elements of our annual day of free healthcare in the planning for Café con Leche and gather best practices for our next Ascension Medical Mission.”


The Ascension Medical Mission team fueling up for the day before the event starts.

Ascension Medical Mission volunteers pose in front of the event's photo wall.

A volunteer helps navigate attendees to the services and resources they wish to visit with. 

The stress management table is staffed by Ascension Medical Mission volunteers and is equipped with fun, easy ways to de-stress. 

Attendees turn in completed surveys to Ascension Medical Mission volunteers.

The CORA table, which is staffed by associates Lucy Torres and Nora Martinez. 


About Taylor Valdez

Curly hair with straight priorities. Dedicated workaholic and weekend adventurer. When I'm not writing or working, I'm shopping, chowing down on local bites or binging Netflix.