AUSTIN (KXAN) — Austin Public Health’s Health Equity Unit will hold their “Fiesta de Salud” tomorrow, a welcome return after it was last held in 2019, to address health inequities faced by the city’s Hispanic and Latinx community and celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

The health fair will take place at Walnut Creek Elementary School (401 W Braker Ln.) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

“We know the last few years have been difficult for our community,” said APH Director Adrienne Sturrup in a press release. “We’re thrilled to have capacity to once again host Fiesta de Salud. It’s an opportunity for everyone, especially our communities disproportionately impacted with chronic disease or illness, to complete important health screenings and stay up to date with their vaccines.”  

The Unit holds several similar events in Austin, and each event is organized by a specific task force. The Fiesta is the project of the Hispanic/Latinx task force. APH teams will be there to administer vaccines and screenings:

  • Vaccines available: COVID-19, flu, tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap), measles, mumps, rubella (MMR), Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, HPV and shingles.
  • Screenings available: Kidneys, vision, blood pressure, blood sugar, A1C and cholesterol.

Connie Gonzales, an APH program coordinator, leads the task force. For at least the previous four months, her time has been spent getting this Saturday’s event ready.

“It takes time to reconnect with your community partners, get a venue and schedule a date on the calendar,” said Gonzales about the process. “What is awesome is that our unit–we all come together to help. “

She makes a point that this event also owes a lot to community partnerships. For example, she notes that Capital Metro will be on hand to give out bus passes, and Central Texas Food Bank will distribute 250 food boxes.

“Our community partners are a big part of bringing all these services to the community,” Gonzales said. “We’re trying to help with all the barriers people suffered during COVID. Not only just COVID, but the price of food, of gas has gone up. We look through our health equity lens every time we plan an event.”

The event, which also includes live entertainment and family-friendly activities, is entirely free. Scheduled performances include Danza Azteca Guadalupana de AustinTexas Dragon/Lion Dance Team and The Groovers of Texas Line Dance Team.

This is work that Gonzales enjoys — she expresses a love for talking with and helping her community.

“I feel great. I feel like I’ve made new friends, and I’m able to help them meet their needs. It’s very satisfying for me to be able to do that,” Gonzales said. “We have a high percentage of Hispanics in Austin, and many of them are going without medical care. We can help them better their quality of life. That’s the ultimate goal.”