The Hispanic Institute for Blindness Prevention (HIBP) is a private non-profit organization with the mission to lower the risk of blindness in the Metropolitan DC area by focusing on low income, uninsured, underserved families of any origin, ethnic minorities and other groups at risk of eye and eye-related diseases. Through its work in the community and its expertise in providing culturally competent services it has become an important conduit of health care and social services information and referral source for many families in the D.C. metro area.
Since its inception in 2004, HIBP has provided services in partnership with a variety of non-profits, community clinics, community based organizations (CBO), faith-based organizations, county health departments and Latin American consulates in DC, Maryland and Virginia. HIBP has grown as an organization. As the word spread about the quality preventative services, that through offered screenings that were set up at health fairs, churches, and other community events.
However, HIBP understands that blindness prevention activities serve as a way to address a variety of health issues since visual impairment often a symptom for other health complications. This key finding surfaced in the first couple of years that HIBP had been in operation. In 2006, HIBP, as the lead agency, implemented a Health and Services Stations (Ventanilla de Salud) at the Mexican Consulate in Washington D.C. following the opening of the program at the El Salvador consulates in Washington D.C. and Woodbridge, VA, the Guatemalan Consulate in Silver Spring and the Bolivian Consulate in Washington D.C. The goal was to address barriers within the Hispanic community for access to existing healthcare and social services programs, health education, prevention, and referrals.
The program developed on-site intake and screening stations where clients could receive health and social service needs assessments, education and referrals. These services stem from a patient’s initial vision or medical screening for diabetes, hypertension, and obesity risk or a free wellness check or physical examination, which can lead to additional medical interventions and referrals as well.