Tuesday, March 18, 2014

St. Louis Mosaic Project

St. Louis Mosaic Project and SLU School of Medicine work toward a stronger St. Louis
By Jeff Sachs
“We aim to be a cultural mosaic, a place that is truly welcoming.”
With a goal to make St. Louis the fastest growing metropolitan area for immigration by 2020, outreach plays a key role in work of the St. Louis Mosaic Project. On Thursday, March 13, the Hispanic Health Interest Group of the Saint Louis University School of Medicine hosted Betsy Cohen, Director of the St. Louis Mosaic Project, to teach medical students about the organization’s mission and to encourage collaboration.
A diverse mix of regional business, civic, economic development, and academic leaders, the St. Louis Mosaic Project strives for regional prosperity through immigration and innovation. Members of the organization, along with volunteer “Professional Connectors” and “Mosaic Ambassadors”, work with legislators, business partners, community agencies, and public services to create a more attractive and integrative region for foreign-born immigrants.
Guided by a 2012 report titled “The Economic Impact of Immigration on St. Louis”, Mrs. Cohen demonstrated the positive effects that a larger foreign-born population will have on the St. Louis region. Her presentation also included specific data about the local Hispanic population, describing the many nationalities and countries of origin of those present in the St. Louis metro area. This was of special interest to many SLU medical students who volunteer at Casa de Salud (House of Health), a nonprofit health clinic that serves the area’s Latino community.
Bob Fox, SLU board member and Founder and Chair of Casa de Salud, also serves on the Steering Committee of the St. Louis Mosaic Project. His connection to Saint Louis University and its mission, as well as his efforts to help guide the region to a more competitive and vibrant future, set a great example for students looking to engage in important issues in their community. One such issue is the lack of coordinated services for immigrant populations in the region. Local health care, for example, is one crucial service that the St. Louis Mosaic Project would like to more fully develop for foreign-born residents and newcomers.
The Global Health Learning Community at SLU School of Medicine offers elective courses to equip students with the skills and relationships to make some headway in this needed area. Through these courses, medical students have opportunities to learn medical Spanish, medical Chinese, and patient advocacy and navigation skills. Many students volunteer at Casa de Salud, Chinese Clinics, and the New American Preparatory Academy, a transition school for immigrant and refugee children located near Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. Students also volunteer at the Health Resource Center, a free, student-run health clinic in north St. Louis City.
Through these and similar efforts to develop all public services geared toward foreign-born populations, St. Louis may begin to gain traction toward its goal of becoming a cultural mosaic. But as Betsy Cohen reminded her audience, we must not only be helpful, but truly welcoming, in order to invite others to make St. Louis their home.

For more information, visit stlmosaicproject.org.


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