Event series offers free colon cancer screenings and resources in historically underserved Latino communities in southern California.

OAKLAND, Calif., March 11, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Shield of California is teaming up with Zócalo Health, an innovative primary health care service for the Latino community, to host a "Cafecito, Cumbia, & Salud" event series, which will include free colon cancer screening for communities across California. These events aim to raise awareness about preventative health, remove the stigma associated with seeking medical help, and provide culturally appropriate resources to improve health outcomes across the Latino community.

"Blue Shield of California is proud to partner with Zócalo Health to host these important community conversations about colon cancer," said Jackie Ejuwa, Vice President, Health Transformation, Blue Shield of California. "We know that colon cancer is the third leading cause of death in Latino men and women, and that young Latinos, between ages 20 and 29, are seeing some of the highest increases in distant-stage, early onset colorectal cancer. Raising awareness about cancer screening is one way we can help reverse this concerning trend."

Preventive health is often overlooked despite being essential for reducing the risk of chronic diseases, such as colon cancer, diabetes, and hypertension. Many Latinos underutilize preventive health services due to lack of insurance, language barriers, or cultural dissonance. When it comes to colon cancer screening, only 42% of Latinos aged 45 and older were up to date in 2018, compared to 58% of non-Latino whites, according to the American Cancer Society. With screening, doctors can find and remove polyps before they spread or progress into cancer, making treatment easier.

"Rooted in culture, traditions, and trust, these events are a great way to build community," said Erik Cardenas, CEO and Co-Founder, Zócalo Health. "By bringing together trusted and vetted healthcare professionals, city leaders, and other mission-driven service providers, we can begin to build inroads into these vibrant communities while delivering essential programming and raising awareness about critical health topics affecting our people."

The first three of seven events are scheduled in the following communities:

    --  Friday, March 8, 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM PST: Dagny's Coffee Co, 1600 20th
        Street #3902, Bakersfield, CA 93301
    --  Friday, March 29, 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM PST: Mi Cafesito Van Ness, 1495
        North Van Ness Avenue Fresno, CA 93728
    --  Thursday, April 18, 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM PST: Oxnard Performing Arts Center
        Corporation (OPAC), 800 Hobson Way, Oxnard, CA 93030

The events are family-friendly, including numerous activities designed to engage children while parents learn valuable health information. Attendees can start the event with delicious free pan dulce and coffee, enjoy the lively rhythms of Cumbia music, and take part in the overall inviting atmosphere. Most importantly, they'll be able to take advantage of complimentary health screenings, an essential step in proactive health management for themselves and their family.

About Blue Shield of California
Blue Shield of California strives to create a healthcare system worthy of its family and friends that is sustainably affordable. Blue Shield of California is a tax paying, nonprofit, independent member of the Blue Shield Association with over 4.8 million members, over 7,500 employees and more than $24 billion in annual revenue. Founded in 1939 in San Francisco and now headquartered in Oakland, Blue Shield of California and its affiliates provide health, dental, vision, Medicaid and Medicare healthcare service plans in California. The company has contributed more than $97 million to Blue Shield of California Foundation in the last three years to have an impact on California communities.
For more news about Blue Shield of California, please visit
Or follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.

About Zócalo Health
Zócalo Health is a Latino-founded healthcare service designed for the Latino patient. Our primary care model blends tradition with innovation and prioritizes trusting relationships between care teams and patients. Each member of Zócalo Health is paired with a promotor de salud (community health worker) to establish a relationship to better understand members' goals and connect them to a Zócalo Health physician. Our team of physicians, hired from the community, focus on prevention, primary care, behavioral health, and traditional practices that work together to support our members' wellness. Operating in the states of California, Washington, and Texas, Zócalo Health offers affordable and convenient same-day access to culturally-aligned providers.


     Mashi Nyssen

                 Blue Shield of



View original content to download multimedia:

SOURCE Blue Shield of California