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Vida! Engaging Citizens in Their Own Health

Dr. Ana Maria Lopez leads a !Vida! session

¡Vida! emerged from work with breast cancer survivors who, despite five years or more since the breast cancer diagnosis, clearly articulated their goal not only to live, but to live well.

Named from the Spanish word meaning “life,” ¡Vida! is a monthly partner educational series for patients and their professional health care teams. Guided by a broad-based Community Partnership Group, ¡Vida! has been proactively addressing the identified needs of patients and their families across the state of Arizona.

While ¡Vida! originally began with a focus on breast cancer survivorship, the series has evolved to include topics related to lifestyle medicine, wellness, and advocacy with the overarching goal of engaging Arizona’s citizens in their own health!

Education Through Partnership

As patients and their families have repeatedly informed us, the cure to the stress and anxiety that their illness brings is knowledge and information not only for them, but for their health care teams as well.  ¡Vida! strives to do just that, to bring patient-directed health information to patients and families.

The program pairs the patient sessions with partner sessions developed for health professionals. The partner sessions for health care professionals encourage patient interaction with their health care teams. Patient and health care professional partner sessions take place monthly and are offered to a local audience at the University of Arizona Health Sciences Center campus and University of Arizona Cancer Center in Tucson, Arizona.

Sessions are also broadcast to distance audiences at sites throughout the state using either the Arizona Telemedicine Program’s network of telecommunications technology, which allows for fully interactive videoconferencing, or through the University of Arizona’s Biomedical Communications, which facilitates real-time and delayed video streaming.

Patient Sessions

Acknowledging the diversity of Arizona communities, the linguistically and culturally competent patient series developed as sequential monthly sessions: one in English and one in Spanish.

Over time, the groups began to connect, either lingering after one session or coming in early for the other. The groups could not always communicate effectively through language, but being committed to their health, the participants found music to be the language that could bridge them. They began to play music in between the sessions and move…dance, in Tucson, in Nogales, in Payson, and in all participating sites across Arizona.

Participants now come together monthly to learn together and to celebrate health through movement!

Partner Sessions for Health Care Professionals

The partner sessions for health care professionals precede the patient sessions in order to prepare the busy health care professional for potential patient questions. Health care professional partner sessions are offered at an alternate time from the patient educational sessions. These partner sessions for health care professionals also offer continuing medical education credit.

Both patients and health care professionals report ease of learning through this modality as well as ease of interacting with the presenter. They both feel better informed after the sessions. As patients, they feel better prepared to ask questions and learn more, and as health care professionals, they feel better prepared to address patient concerns from an updated evidence base.

Program Information

A recent session was, Young Women and Cancer and The Link between Breast and Ovarian Cancer. You can view an archived recording of this session here.

Upcoming sessions will address the Affordable Care Act and Lifestyle Changes to Promote Health and Wellness.

To learn more about ¡Vida!, please Series Director Dr. Ana Maria Lopez at alopez@uacc.arizona.edu, or Senior Program Coordinator Bettina Hofacre at bhofacre@uacc.arizona.edu.  

We encourage you to join us, to learn, to ask questions, and to dance for ¡Vida!

We look forward to seeing you either in-person or “on TV” at one of the Arizona Telemedicine Program sites. Be well! 

About the Author

Ana Maria Lopez's picture

Ana Maria López, MD, MPH, FACP, is medical director of the Arizona Telemedicine Program and professor of medicine and pathology at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. She is also the series director for ¡Vida!.


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