El Centro, Calif. – The 6th Annual Health Leadership Summit aims to bring the local Imperial Valley community together with decision makers that have the power to make a positive impact on the environment.
Event organizer Jose Luis Olmedo says this will bring community activists, the private industry and elected officials together.
“The purpose of this summit is to convene community residents and bring them together with decision makers that are making decisions on many issues that have to do with health, land use, education,” Olmedo said.
The health summits began back in 2007 with only a handful of people now attendee numbers are in the hundreds with important speakers coming from various fields. Olmedo says his job is to put people in privileged positions with other community members to a place where both voices can be equal.
“Bringing decision makers so they could be at the table and listen to the interest of the concerns. Where we can talk about issues that are affecting our community and opportunities of how we can make this a better community,” Olmedo said.
Olmedo says the topic of asthma is especially important to imperial valley.
“Particularly in Imperial County where we have a greater prevalence of asthma, greater hospitalization than the rest of the state,” Olmedo said.
Summit organizer Humberto Lugo says some people don’t realize how polluted the area really is.
“Sometimes we don’t see the links between a truck, how can it make asthma in children worse, but these are known trailers for asthma, lung cancer, and other sources of diseases in the youth,” Lugo said.
More than forty-one speakers will cover solar panels, energy grants, climate change and how to identify pollutants, among other health topics, Lugo explained.
Olmedo concluded by saying this conference could help people become more aware of conditions surrounding them causing pollution and what to do about it.