costs, employment opportunities, and quality of life, a focus on literacy—including health literacy—would advance AARP’s mission and improve quality of life for its constituents. Other senior citizens’ advocacy groups share similar goals.

Advocates for Hispanics

There are many advocacy organizations for Hispanics, but two stand out as particularly respected and influential: the National Council of La Raza and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund. In addition, the National Hispanic Medical Association has particular interest in health-related issues, which could include health literacy.

National Council of La Raza

The National Council of La Raza is a private, nonprofit organization established in 1968. It has 270 formal affiliates in 40 states, and a much broader network of 20,000 groups and individuals nationwide. Its mission is to “improve life opportunities for Hispanic Americans” (National Council of La Raza, 2003). Life opportunities are diminished when individuals have limited literacy skills, and the literacy skills of Hispanics are currently the lowest of any major ethnic group in the United States (Table B-7). Enhancing literacy skills, including health literacy skills, as an area of emphasis for the National Council of La Raza and similar organizations has the potential to improve economic opportunities and health care for Hispanic Americans.

Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund

The Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund is a national nonprofit organization whose mission includes assuring that “there are no obstacles preventing [the Latino] community from realizing its dreams…” (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, 2003). Limited literacy is one such obstacle, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund could participate in efforts to enhance literacy and health literacy skills of Hispanics.

National Hispanic Medical Association

The National Hispanic Medical Association is an organization that represents Hispanic medical providers. The organization expresses a commitment to providing policy makers and health-care providers with expert medical information, and to supporting and strengthening delivery of health



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