The Challenge:

Though Hurricane Maria was the deadliest to make landfall in Puerto Rico, it won’t be the last to make its presence felt in the island. To be better prepared for future hurricane seasons, comprehensive and updates emergency plans need to be in place to avoid future massive devastation. 

How is Hispanic Federation Helping?

As early as winter 2017, Hispanic Federation and its partners made the rehabilitation and repair of the island’s health infrastructure a top priority. We have continued to expand the ways we can strengthen physical and mental health resources, infrastructure, and access for communities across Puerto Rico. 

Who Are We Helping?

Federally Qualified Health Center Disaster Recovery Grant (Island-wide) 

Hispanic Federation (HF) is funding a multi-million dollar project in collaboration with UNICEF, Jennifer López and Alex Rodríguez to support capital and infrastructure repairs for Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), nonprofits that serve mostly low-income rural residents. A total of 26 sites have been funded, comprised of 19 main sites and 7 satellite clinics. They include:

  • Corporación de Servicios de Salud y Medicina (Yabucoa and Las Piedras)

  • Costa Salud Community Health Centers (Rincon)

  • Hospital General de Castañer (Castañer)

  • HPM Foundation (Carolina, Culebra & Vieques)

  • Migrant Health Center, Western Region (Mayaguez)

  • Morovis Community Health Center (Morovis)

  • NeoMed Center (Gurabo)

  • Prymed Medical Care (Ciales)

  • Salud Integral en la Montana (Naranjito, Barranquitas and Morovis)

  • Servicios de Salud Primarios (Barceloneta)

  • Camuy Health Services (Camuy)

  • Centro de Salud (Lares)

  • Centro de Salud Familiar
    Dr. Julio Palmieri Ferri (Arroyo)

  • Centro de Servicios Primarios (Patillas)

  • Centro de Servicios Primarios de Salud, Inc. (Florida)

  • Concilio de Salud Integral (Loiza, Rio Grande and Luquillo)

  • Consejo de Salud de Puerto Rico
    (Ponce)

  • Corporación de Salud Asegurada Por Nuestra Organización Solidaria
    (Caguas)

  • Corporación de Servicios Médicos Primarios y Prevención de Hatillo (Hatillo)


Taller Salud (Loíza and Vieques) 

HF support enabled Taller Salud to launch a new program that trains 20 local women as community health promoters. These promoters receive stipends as they provide relevant health and wellness information in communities throughout Loíza and Vieques. Founded in 1979, Taller Salud is a community based, feminist organization dedicated to improving women’s access to health, reducing community violence, and economic development through education and activism.


ASPIRA Inc of Puerto Rico (Loíza) 

Flooding and water stagnation after Hurricane María threatened to exacerbate mosquito-borne illnesses in wetland communities such as Loíza. Through HF’s assistance, ASPIRA, a pioneer in education and leadership development, launched a mosquito control project that uses education, training, and implementation of vector control management to reduce mosquito-borne diseases. Young people work with local scientists to study conditions that increase the mosquito population and collaborate with a theater program to engage and educate communities on how to prevent mosquitoes from reproducing.


Centro MAM (Carolina) 

HF funding is helping Centro MAM provide midwifery and doula services to community residents. Centro MAM’s expertise is in pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum assistance, as well as the provision of mobile health education and family planning services. Prior to HF’s support, the clinic was threatened with closure, putting more than 350 mothers and families at risk of losing these critically needed services.  


Mental Health Initiative with NYC Mayor’s Office (Vieques and Culebra) 

The humanitarian crisis on the island was highlighted by a dramatic increase in calls to suicide prevention hotlines. In partnership with New York City’s First Lady Chirlane McCray, this initiative provided funding to Health ProMed, a Federally Qualified Health Center serving Vieques and Culebra, to hire additional health professionals and strengthen their capacity to respond to people with mental health needs.


Abrazando A Puerto Rico (Multiple Municipalities) 

HF has funded four nonprofits in partnership with Fundación Banco Popular’s Abrazando a Puerto Rico initiative. These organizations use a variety of art therapy modalities to provide mental health services to youth. The following organizations are participating in this project: 

1.     Agua, Sol y Sereno (Drama, Art and Music Therapy)

Agua, Sol y Sereno is a nonprofit, multidisciplinary community theatre collective. Staff provides theatre workshops to help participants process their hurricane related experience while developing a story of resiliency.  Participants learn how to make and use puppets, drawings, masks and “cabezudos” to tell their story.

2.     Fundación Música y Paz (Music Therapy)

Fundación Música y Paz is a nonprofit that uses music and music education as an instrument of transformation and social change. Short-term music therapy sessions are provided to children and teens living in foster homes. Participants repurpose post hurricane debris to make their own instruments. 

3.     Andanza (Dance Therapy)

Andanza is a non-profit dance company and school that provides socio-educational dance projects, productions and workshops. Staff teaches dance techniques to help participants use their bodies as a way of auto-expression to address feelings and emotions related to the impact of the hurricane.

4.     Museo de Arte Contemporáneo – MAC (Art Workshops)

MAC is a non-profit dedicated to the preservation, documentation and promotion of art produced in Puerto Rico, the Caribbean and Latin America. MAC staff provide individual and group consultation to seniors in art therapy to address psychosocial needs post hurricane.


Medical Missions (San Juan, Humacao, Naranjito, Las Piedras, Guayama, Guaynabo, Río Grande, Arecibo, Ponce, Utuado and Barceloneta)

Post Hurricane María, and with support from HF, teams of doctors and nurses from Mindo Futures, Norwegian American Hospital Foundation, and the New York State Nurses Association were flown to Puerto Rico to provide medical services to 2,500 patients.


Mental Health Initiative (Multiple Municipalities) 

This collaboration with the University of Puerto Rico, Recinto de Río Piedras (Departments of Psychology, Social Work, and Rehabilitative Counseling), aims to develop and pilot an innovative, interdisciplinary, and evidence-informed model of training and service delivery for natural disasters that attends to the immediate mental health needs of residents in the aftermath of María and also helps build the capacity of the sector to prepare and respond for the future. Through their training, a cadre of 100 graduate students will become specialized in natural disaster mental health (a specialty currently lacking in Puerto Rico) and upon graduation become leaders in the field better able to prepare, organize and respond effectively. This initiative will also involve nine community-based organizations, and three University campuses.