New Resources for the Hispanic Community Help Build Empowerment


For many of us, the close of 2022 is bittersweet. However, with each passing month, I have found myself feeling a little more in control and empowered to get back to “normal.” This coming year is especially significant to me as I will celebrate 10 years as a cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with breast cancer in March 2013. I was 36 years old. I arrived in the U.S. from Mexico one year before my cancer diagnosis—no family and friends around me. I experienced the challenges of assimilating to a different culture, including language barriers. I have dealt with a system that did not consider my culture, ethnicity, socioeconomics, or my roots.

This is why I’m so proud to be a part of a program aimed at making a difference: Empowered Health. The CDC Foundation recently launched a suite of new resources and tools aimed at helping people navigate health inequities, have better conversations with their healthcare providers, make important medical decisions together, and ultimately improve their overall health. These new resources include the Cancer Patient and Caregiver Academy and Provider Academy. Many of the Patient Academy resources are available in English and Spanish, including a five-part video series with companion resources guides.

I know from experience that feeling empowered is only possible when you have the right information, at the right time, and in a language and format that you understand. The language barrier made my cancer experience challenging. I remember that I was writing everything down after my doctor's visits. I asked about all new medical terms, and sometimes, I asked my doctors to spell them out for me to make sure I could learn about them in my own language. It was exhausting. Some members of my medical team seemed cold and uninterested in who I was and what I was feeling emotionally, which made it difficult to feel empowered. I had the blessing of having great support from my leading oncologist, who was also an immigrant like me, but from Turkey. He understood the value of culturally relevant medical attention to save lives, to save my life.

This experience is what inspired me to start ROSAesROJO, a non-profit organization supporting Hispanic women at high-risk of cancer. We have partnered with the CDC Foundation to help ensure that Empowered Health’s Spanish resources are culturally relevant and accessible to the Hispanic community.

While cancer is the leading cause of death among Hispanic people in the United States, many cancer resources are available only in English or simply as a mechanical Spanish translation that hasn’t been rooted in Hispanic culture. When you are talking about matters of life and death, culturally relevant content is crucial to saving lives.

And language isn’t the only barrier facing many Hispanic people. While I have the privilege of health insurance, one in four Hispanic people in the U.S. live below the poverty line, and we compose 57 percent of the nation’s uninsured. The pandemic has also disproportionately affected us, further reducing coverage, and isolating us from preventive care for things like mammograms or colonoscopies.

I feel I have a huge responsibility to other Hispanic women like me and to my beloved Hispanic community. I have witnessed how Hispanic people need empowerment. I needed empowerment. I truly believe Empowered Health can help.

More About Empowered Health:

The program was created through a partnership between the CDC Foundation and Amgen Oncology, with technical support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The program, in its third year, is designed to provide resources and training to facilitate empowerment and shared decision-making across the cancer care continuum—from screening and prevention to treatment and survivorship, across all types of cancer.

Aideé Granados is the Founder and CEO of ROSAesROJO, a non-profit organization supporting Hispanic women at high-risk of cancer. The organization has partnered with Empowered Health to help develop culturally sensitive Spanish language resources.