Nuestra Salud Celebrates 15 Years of Being on the
Air at La Movida
Reaching People Where They Are
|Left: La Movida’s Luis and Lupita Montoto (l-r) and Nuestra Salud’s Shiva
Bidar, Dr. Patricia Tellez-Gíron and Diego Campoverde Cisneros
Above: Members of the Latino Health Council
By Jonathan Gramling
During the 1990s, the Madison area’s Latino population was growing by leaps and bounds, fueled by people of all status’ search for economic opportunity as
Madison was booming and experienced low unemployment rates. Many of the families who moved to the Madison area were relatively isolated from the
mainstream and the services it offered due to language and status barriers.
Health professionals in Madison were concerned about the lack of access to healthcare that many of these individuals experienced. And so individuals in the
healthcare field in various capacities like Dr. Patricia Tellez-Gíron and Shiva Bidar began to coalesce people and resources to serve the Latino community.
“The Council on Latino Health was established in 1996,” Tellez-Gíon said. “It was created specifically to work on the health-related issues facing the Latino
community. Now known as the Latino Health Council, it has over the years worked on health concerns. The Council has become a resource for individuals and
organizations interested in Latino health. Our mission is to promote and support the health and well-being of the Latino community through education, advocacy,
consulting, and networking and more recently through medical students who are going to be the future of this country. For our goals, we provide leadership and
guidance to community-based organizations trying to reach the Latino community. We assist in providing and promoting health education and screening and
early detection programs to the Latino community, just like Nuestra Salud, promote access to quality and affordable health care that is culturally and language
appropriate — very important — and strengthen partnerships among community organizations to address health needs in the Latino community. As you saw
when all of the members stood, they are from different organizations that are providing care to Latinos in town.”
One thing that many of the new arrivals to the Latino community had in common was they took jobs in the booming service sector in Dane County. Whether it
was as cooks in restaurants, maids in hotels or laundry workers — as well as in the agricultural sector or mothers staying at home to care for children — many
tuned into Spanish-language radio to pass the time listening to music or the latest news.
And the main Spanish-language radio station in Madison back in 2004 was La Movida. The Latino Health Council took notice. Radio would be the perfect way to
reach Spanish-speaking adults and children about health-related services and resources. And so the Latino Health Council in conjunction with La Movida,
launched Nuestra Salud, a monthly, two-hour radio program.
“It is really interesting to look back on Park Street because it is on Park Street that we started with La Movida,” Bidar said. “It was when Luis and Lupita were
just starting La Movida in a tiny little room. We were standing for two hours behind a microphone. We were the first regular radio show that they had outside of
their own programming.”
Back in 2004, Diego Campoverde Cisneros — now the diversity and inclusion manager for Quartz — was the La Movida staff member who worked with the
council to put Nuestra Salud on the air. It was only fitting that Cisneros opened the 15th Anniversary Celebration of Nuestra Salud on September 16th at the
Wingra Family Clinic on S. Park Street.
“It’s our Quinceañera,” Cisneros proclaimed. “It’s been more than 360 hours on the air talking. And if you know me, Shiva and Dr. Patricia Tellez, you know that
we like to talk a lot nonstop. It’s been 360 hours of providing information, resources and educating our communities. I am so honored and proud to have been
part of this journey since Day One. This is the perfect timing for this celebration in light of Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated and recognized in this
country during the months of September and October for all of the contributions that Hispanic and Latinx communities bring to America. The Nuestra Salud radio
program is the perfect example of these contributions, keeping our communities informed on how to get care, health care prevention, health insurance and
much, much more. It was initially organized and created by immigrants for immigrants.”
Every month for the past 15 years, members of the Latino Health Council and their partners have been reaching a “captured” audience, so to speak, as people
listened while they worked. And listen, they did, for Nuestra Salud could almost be described as listener-powered.
“Every month for two hours, we get up and get ready to share information and resources based on the topic that is previously planned,” Cisneros said. “The
radio listeners are a key component of the radio program when they call in eager to know more about the topic that we are covering, where they share their
experiences and ask questions about access to health care or they share their success stories of good health outcomes, all because they listen to the radio
program. One of our fans or radio listeners said, ‘When you get the health care that you need, when you get healthy, many doors open and you are able to take
care of yourself, your family and your community.’”
When they first started in those cramped quarters on S. Park Street, Nuestra Salud had a relatively small reach. But as La Movida joined Midwest Family
Broadcasting and then took advantage of the Internet, Nuestra Salud’s audience grew and grew.
“We have come to find that this is the best strategy we have to provide health education for the majority of the Latinx community, not only in Dane County, but
also in many places around Wisconsin and now through the Internet, all over the world,” Tellez-Gíron said. “I have my uncle in Mexico who actually listens to
Nuestra Salud. Now we can do that. The program is also recorded and then we put these on our website so that people can listen to the program at their
The beauty of radio is that it can be very participatory or people can listen to it by themselves, allowing Nuestra Salud to get real with their listening audience.
“The focus of the program is that we have been able to talk about an array of topics including very sensitive topics,” Tellez-Gφron said. “We talk a lot about the
social determinants of health too. There are topics that we never thought could be talked about in our community like sexuality, immigration issues and
domestic abuse, we have talked about it on the radio with a very good response from our audience. And we get great questions and great comments that they
call in with. They are amazing in how they do it.”
In Tellez-Gíron’s view, the reason they have a lot of audience participation is because the program deals with topics its audience wants to find out about and
not just push information from the top down by professionals who “know better.”
“We have a lot of community participation at every level from planning to participating in the program,” Tellez-Gíron said. “And that is true for problem
identification, that they need to start in the community. So the topics that we choose for the program are chosen by our community and the experience that I
have with my patients and the things that I see that they need. It’s not about Patricia who decides the topic. It’s what I see that they need in the community.”
In many ways, Nuestra Salud is a community thing.
“It’s made possible by a lot of volunteers and people who work behind the scenes,” Cisneros said. “We thank all of you today for continuing to support our goal
of helping our communities of color thrive through getting access to health care.”
As their time on the air is very limited, Nuestra Salud has taken advantage of every moment, including with the commercials that are used to promote it.
“Our commercials are not your regular commercials,’” Tellez-Gíron said. “‘Please come and listen to us. We will be on the radio.’ Our commercials actually
have a story. Already the commercial is telling a point about health education. And if you can think of a strategy, these commercials are played over and over
before the program starts, so the people are already listening. Even if they don’t listen to the radio program, they listen to the commercials and they already
learn something. I would like the people responsible for the commercials to stand up please because I want to recognize them. These are members of my family
and without my family, I would not be here. They are always there and available and we have a lot of fun doing the commercials, particularly with my sister. I do
the commercials and I struggle with what I want on the program. I am the director and then they come and do whatever they want. We keep it fun.”
Bidar emphasized that the program needed to be about more than just telling people how to be healthy. It also needed to connect them to the resources that
would allow them to put health into action in their own lives.
“Over the years, as our community has created more resources and I amnlooking, for example, at Baltazar whennhe created the first group of Latinos to bike
together, we were able to promote that through the radio program,” Bidar said. “‘Here’s another opportunity for you to be healthy and exercise and be amongst
community members.’ When we’ve talked about men’s health and issues with
stressors that go on in men’s health, we’ve talked about Fernando Cano and the
group he has on Fridays where Latino men come together to have a space where
they share their own experiences and deal with their own stressors and have a
space. That’s how we connect people with information. Many of you have been huge
While Cisneros, Tellez-Gíron and Bidar have taken on new responsibilities and roles
in the community, they remain committed to Nuestra Salud. It’s a family thing.
“Shiva and Patricia have become not only my professional colleagues, but also my
friends and family,” Cisneros said. “I blame the radio program for that. Our friendship
started 15 years ago because of this amazing initiative called the Nuestra Salud
radio program. Thank you Mi Hermanitas!”
And thank you Nuestra Salud for making Madison and Dane County a healthier place