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By Joseph R. Cunningham, M.D.
National Hispanic Heritage Month spans September 15 to October 15 and coincides with the independence days of several Hispanic countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Chile, and Belize. Dating back to 1968, communities around the world have typically celebrated all month long with festivals and parties, but this year, many celebrations have been canceled.
As the global health crisis continues, the safest way to celebrate is virtually. During this time, the World Health Organization recommends staying connected and maintaining your social networks to avoid the negative effects of isolation. Online video chat platforms make it easy to connect with those who live near and far. Many cultural organizations are hosting online events for you to attend in the comfort of your own home. On social media, take time to share your experiences and family history, and connect with loved ones through group chats.
If you are planning an in-person celebration, it’s important to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The CDC suggests small gatherings, hosted outside if possible. Encourage attendees to wear masks, maintain physical distance, and practice frequent handwashing. Provide packaged, single-serve utensils and limit the amount of people that prepare and serve food.
Finally, as you look for ways to connect with Hispanic Heritage Month, please consider giving back to your community. Organizations like the Latino Community Development Agency in Oklahoma City could use your help to continue to protect the health and wellness of their clients in need.
Hispanic Heritage Month is a time for gratitude and reflection. It’s a great reminder to enjoy time with your family, focus on your health, and give back to others.
Joseph R. Cunningham, M.D. is the president of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Oklahoma, a Division of Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company.
(For more Office Visit columns by Dr. Cunningham, visit The Journal Record.)
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