As most Minnesotans know, October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, enthusiastically supported by scores of national chains, professional sports teams, health care providers, churches and community groups. What caught my attention was a welcome spate of multi-language PSA’s and public television information programs devoted to cancer detection and treatment. As is my wont, I poked around so that I now understand this multi-language Breast Cancer Awareness campaign can be credit in large part ECHO, officially the Emergency Community Health Outreach. ECHO is a leader in multi-language access geared to the needs of immigrants and refugees. The organization promotes collaboration among a host of health and safety experts and bilingual community leaders to create high quality programming for TV and radio broadcast, phone, print, web, DVD and relay distribution. Breast Cancer Awareness Month is just one product of ECHO’s ongoing initiatives to meet the needs of communities that are too frequently disenfranchised
The breast cancer awareness campaign is just one of scores of programs and projects supported by ECHO to ensure that over a half million Minnesotans with limited English-speaking skills have access to the information they need to make informed decisions affecting their well-being. ECHO dates from 2004 when local and state public health and safety agencies joined forces to address the health, safety and emergency information needs of an expanding number of Minnesotans with limited English-speaking experience. A dozen bilingual community leaders became ECHO’s first team of community spokespeople.
Early on ECHO launched ECHO TV in partnership with the St. Paul Neighborhood Network (SPNN) and Twin Cities Public Television. This was the first series in the country dedicated to presenting health, safety, and emergency readiness programs in multiple languages. It forged a partnership that endures and continues to produce multi-language materials on a wide range of topics. Full seasons of ECHO TV – up to 12 programs in 7 languages (English, Hmong, Khmer, Lao, Somali, Spanish and Vietnamese) are now available on DVD. Individual topics may also be available in multiple languages on single DVDs which are available without charge to organizations and individuals that meet needs requirements.
In short order ECHO Web launched as an online library of multi-language, multi-media resources featuring information on over 70 related topics. ECHO Web provides an online library of health, safety, emergency preparedness and civic engagement resources. Audio, video and print materials are available on over 70 topics, all supported with links to help users connect with resources and new information added every month. ECHO Web provides a virtual hub for public officials, outreach workers and community members seeking multi-language health, safety, emergency and civic engagement education. There’s also an emergency situation e-mail list on ECHO Web.
Another option, ECHO Phone, provides the first statewide toll-free recorded information service through updated multi-language seasonal health and safety tips..
On Tuesday, November 16, ECHO is sponsoring “ImmigrationMatters,” a free panel discussion and recognition featuring immigration attorney Howard S. Myers, III, Wilder Foundation SE Asian program director Tony Yang, and state demographer Tom Gillaspy It’s at the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation, 451 Lexington Parkway North in St. Paul. RSVP to www.immigrationmatters.eventbrite.com or call 651 789 4337.
ECHO is located at 25 Charles Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55103. . Learn much more about the services and resources of ECHO on their website.