This is our mission
We are an informative resource for the Spanish speaking community of Rhode Island. Our mission is to improve your life through increases in health literacy. In addition to educating and promoting health, we will donate 50% of our profits to Clinica Esperanza Hope Clinic.
The Boston Globe
Dr. Pablo Rodriguez launching R.I.’s ﬁrst Spanish-language health website
“The purpose of this whole thing is to prevent people from going to Google and getting information willy-nilly,” Rodriguez said
By Edward Fitzpatrick Globe Staff, Updated March 21, 2023, 1:51 p.m.
Dr. Pablo Rodriguez, a public health advocate and Latino radio host, is launching a Spanish-language health website, nuestrasalud.com.
PROVIDENCE — During the pandemic, Dr. Pablo Rodriguez spent a lot of time trying to combat misinformation.
“That gave me the impetus to say — you know what — the people need a place where they can come if they have a question about the vaccine, about diabetes, about Ozempic, or any other health question,” he said.
So now Rodriguez, a long-time public health advocate and Latino radio host, is launching Rhode Island’s first Spanish-language health website. The launch of nuestrasalud.com (“Our health”) is set for 9 a.m. March 31 at Clínica Esperanza/Hope Clinic, at 85 Eagle St. in Providence.
“Now, they will be able to come to Nuestra Salud and get answers, or I can send them to the right place,” Rodriguez said.
Inadequate health literacy is a stronger predictor of poor health than age, income, employment status, education level, or race, Rodriguez said. “If you truly want to address the social determinants of health, in my mind the number one priority is the health literacy of the community,” he said. And improving health literacy is crucial at a time when Rhode Island’s Latino community is growing rapidly, Rodriguez said.
The state’s Hispanic or Latino population grew by nearly 40 percent over the past decade, according to the latest census data. The number of Rhode Islanders identifying as Hispanic or Latino rose from 130,655 people to 182,101 people between 2010 and 2020, and that group now represents 16.6 percent of the state population, up from 12.4 percent.
“The Latino population in Rhode Island is growing and will continue to grow,” Rodriguez said. “I expect many more Latinos in Rhode Island that don’t speak English and that prefer to deal with their health care issues in Spanish. This will provide a portal to the information that Latinos are sorely missing.”
Nuestra Salud is a social venture company, which has sponsors, and 50 percent of the profits will be donated to Clínica Esperanza, which provides linguistically appropriate medical care to uninsured adults in Rhode Island. Since 2010, the clinic has served more than 30,000 patients, 80 percent of whom are Spanish-speaking, and Rodriguez is a board member.
Rodriguez is the former chairman and founder of Latino Public Radio, and he now hosts a podcast and radio program on Latina 100.3 FM called “Nuestra Salud.”
“This is something I’ve been working on for 25 years: health literacy,” he said. While he has spread the word on the air and through community education, he said he realized that radio is “too episodic” — too dependent on people needing to tune in at a certain time. “So I’m looking for a way to continue this mission of health literacy in the Latino community after I’m gone.”
The website will provide a medical encyclopedia, a directory of Spanish speaking providers, and a directory of clinical studies, he said, adding that Latinos often do not participate in such studies because they don’t hear about them or don’t trust them.
“This will be a repository where they can read studies and trust them because they are coming from me — from a website that is considered a trusted source,” Rodriguez said.
The website will include a collection of videos and podcasts that he has produced. And it will provide information about a range of relevant topics, including lead poisoning in children, health care for undocumented residents, and COVID-19 data and vaccine information.
“The purpose of this whole thing is to prevent people from going to Google and getting information willy-nilly,” Rodriguez said.
He said Latinos are 57 percent more likely than the white population to use social media about COVID-19, yet Facebook has not curbed content in Spanish when its English equivalent has been removed or labeled as misleading.
Rodriguez said he hopes the website provides a platform for health care providers to disseminate information about their programs and services. “Once it’s up and running, many more people — including medical practices, insurance companies, hospitals — are going to become interested in using this as a vehicle to share their own information,” he said.
But Rodriguez said the true mark of success will be if the website “becomes the place for people to go for the right information.”