Milwaukee nonprofit still providing services and support to Latino community

Dispatches from Our Own Wisconsin: Al Castro of the United Community Center

Al Castro is the Director of Health Research Programs at the United Community Center, a nonprofit Latino community organization in Milwaukee.  With an extensive background in social work, Al combines public health issues in his work at UCC, facilitating community-engaged health research in the Latino community with academic research universities, including UW-Madison. Al serves as a community-imbedded Research Ambassador for UW-Madison’s Collaborative Center for Health Equity to help UW researchers develop and conduct health research projects in the Latino community of Milwaukee. The Wisconsin Idea Seminar visited the United Community Center in 2016 and 2018.

We caught up with Al to ask a few questions about how he and the rest of the team at the United Community Center, which is celebrating its 50th-anniversary of serving the Milwaukee Latino community, are collaborating with local organizations to address shifting healthcare needs. 

Have you seen the community in Milwaukee’s South Side come together in response to COVID-19? If so, how?

Yes, there are a variety of individuals, organizations and health providers responding in collaborative manners to COVID-19 in the Latino community of Milwaukee.  Entities such as Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers, UMOS, Advocate Ascension Health Care have established testing sites in the area; organizations and academic partners have collaborated to apply to some of the immediate response grant funds coming from federal, state or area foundations to quickly develop public education and response activities (such as 16th Street Clinic, UCC, Southside Organizing Committee, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee Health Department, UMOS, the Hispanic Collaborative).  These various initiatives are a good start, but there is still much to be done in more direct education and preventive information to be disseminated directly with many individuals in the community.  Some of these groups have applied jointly and obtained response grant funding from Advancing Healthier Wisconsin grant (from UW-Wisconsin Partnership Program and Medical College of Wisconsin-Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program) for these strategies. Read more …