PTTC Post September 2021: “Esperanza” Celebrating the Work of the National Hispanic and Latino Prevention Technology Center

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15. This month is dedicated to celebrating the cultures and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, the PTTC post celebrates and outlines the work of The National and Hispanic Latino Prevention Technology Center (NHL- PTTC). The aim of the article is to increase the number of users who access the NHL-PTTC for the benefit of the Hispanic and Latino communities.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was a particularly difficult year for all. The Hispanic and Latino populations carried a greater burden during the pandemic with higher incidence for exposure, serious illness, and death attributed to COVID-19 and highlighted existing disparities due to social determinants of health.(1) The US Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Minority Health (OMH) reports the Hispanic and Latino population as 60.5 million people, representing 18.4% of the U.S. total population and includes any person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.(2) According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Latinos account for 85% of all farmworkers, 59% of the country’s construction crews, 53% of all employees in food services, and 39% of the nation’s total workforce and contributed greatly to keeping vital services going during the pandemic.(3) The theme for 2021 National Hispanic Heritage Month is “Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope''. The theme recognizes the contributions Hispanic people have made in the past as well as the future contributions to be made and celebrates strength and resilience.




Celebrating NHL-PTTC

The Spanish word “esperanza” translated into English means “hope”. As we prepare to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, the PTTC Post would like to highlight the work of the National Hispanic and Latino Prevention Technology Transfer Center (NHL-PTTC) (4) as an example of "esperanza” or hope in action.

NHL- PTTC is a resource and potential partner for anyone who provides prevention services or resources to Hispanic and Latino communities or individuals. Funded by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), NHL- PTTC’s mission is to provide high-quality training and technical assistance to improve the capacity of the workforce serving Hispanic and Latino communities in behavioral health prevention, treatment, and recovery. NHL- PTTC disseminates and supports the implementation of evidence-based and promising practices to enhance service delivery and focuses on developing and disseminating tools and strategies needed to improve the quality of substance abuse prevention efforts.(5) Under the direction of Maxine Henry, MSW, MBA, NHL-PTTC promotes national, regional, and local communication and partnerships and develops fact sheets, presentations, and prevention materials and resources that are available in English, Spanish, and Portuguese. Presentations are translated and re-recorded in each language to increase understanding, flow, and accuracy of the material provided.


The Need for Hispanic and Latino Materials in Your Region

Many prevention practitioners may not be aware that there is a need for Hispanic and Latino prevention materials in their region. If large Hispanic and Latino communities and populations are not present it may be easy for the need for specific services and resources to go unrecognized. In actuality, regions with lower Hispanic and Latino populations may have more of a need for prevention services as individuals and families may be more isolated from translation services, Hispanic and Latino behavioral health and other health professionals, and the support from communities who celebrate and recognize Hispanic and Latino traditions and experiences. Hispanic and Latino population demographics are available by state and region to help prevention programs better understand the people who live in their region and to plan and deliver culturally appropriate services. (6)




The Need for Evidence-based Services and Programs


According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH 2019), 8.9 million Hispanic adults had a mental illness and/or substance use disorder - an increase of 3.7% over 2018 composed of increases in both substance use disorders and mental illness. (7)



To promote population-specific understanding and equitable delivery of services SAMHSA has gathered  Hispanic behavioral health equity data, reports, and issue briefs(8):

The Behavioral Health Barometer: United States, Volume 6 The national report presents data from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health and the National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services. It is one of a series of national, regional, and state reports that provide a snapshot of substance use and mental health in the United States. Some measures include data presented by race/ethnicity and other demographic variables.

Double Jeopardy: COVID-19 and Behavioral Health Disparities for Black and Latino Communities in the U.S. (PDF | 426 KB) This issue brief provides an overview of the key issues, data, strategies, and resources related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the behavioral health disparities experienced by Black and Latino Communities in the U.S.

The Opioid Crisis and the Hispanic/Latino Population: An Urgent Issue (also available in Spanish) This issue brief presents data on the prevalence of opioid misuse & death rates in the Hispanic/Latino population; contextual factors & challenges to prevention & treatment; innovative outreach & engagement strategies to connect people to evidence-based treatment; and the importance of community voice.

2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: Hispanics, Latino or Spanish Origin or Descent Individuals This slide deck (available as a PPT and PDF) presents data specific to Hispanics, Latino or Spanish Origin or Descent individuals based on the graphics, tables, and figures from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) Annual Report.


NHL-PTTC Resources

Whether you provide services in a region with large or small Hispanic and Latino communities, NHL-PTTC provides intensive technical assistance and learning resources to prevention professionals. An incredible new resource developed by the NHL-ATTC and NHL- PTTC is the eCompendium of Evidenced-Based Programs and accompanying Guide.(9) This tool fulfills the need to centralize evidenced-based practices (EBPs) and related research characteristics in one source in order to find the “best fit” EBPs for the Latino communities for which they are intended. The eCompendium can be accessed at

NHL-PTTC makes available prevention projects, resources, and materials for all prevention practitioners, including the ten regional PTTCs to increase the utilization of culturally linguistic and appropriate services and products. Specific language prevention materials are available for immigrant families, both with immigrant and U.S. born-youth. U.S. born-youth may not be in need of translated materials for themselves but it is important to recognize that they may have parents and other family members who are in need of language services and translated materials. NHL-PTTC strives to expand the use of evidence-based prevention practices for Hispanic and Latino communities and provides materials for general prevention needs as well as specific topics such as suicide prevention and adolescent substance use.


Workforce Development

A major focus of the NHL-PTTC is the promotion and growth of a diverse, culturally competent workforce and to increase the number of prevention professionals from Hispanic and Latino Communities. NHL-PTTC, Project Coordinator, Dolka Michelle Zelaya, CPS is dedicated to workforce development and the development of tools and resources for current prevention practitioners as well as engaging the next generation of prevention professionals from Hispanic and Latino communities. NHL-PTTC provides scholarships to assist members from Hispanic and Latino communities in becoming certified prevention professionals. Certification training materials are translated into Spanish and Portuguese to increase access and engagement in the certification process and workforce development.


2021 National Latino Behavioral Health Virtual Conference

The 2021 National Latino Behavioral Health Conference is a  collaboration of the National Latino Behavioral Health Association (NLBHA), The National Hispanic and Latino Addiction Technology Transfer Center (NHL-ATTC), and NHL-PTTC. The 2021 Conference will be held virtually on September 16-17, 2021. The conference will have as its focus: Envisioning Latino Behavioral Health Equity in the Next Decade. Workforce development and the celebration of Hispanic and Latino contributions to the prevention field and behavioral health equity will be highlighted at the upcoming 2021 National Latino Behavioral Health Virtual Conference.(10)

The NHL- PTTC is an exemplary model for technology transfer and serves as an ongoing resource for organization or agency directors, prevention staff, behavioral health, and school and community program providers and leaders. NHL-PTTC Director, Maxine Henry, MSW, MBA, Project Coordinator,  Dolka Michelle Zelaya, CPS, and Executive Administrative Assistant, Priscilla Giamassi, MPM, CPS are to be commended for the innovative programming that they provide along with partner organizations and collaborations. Their work has resulted in comprehensive training and technical assistance to Hispanic and Latino communities, the development of resources and programs relevant to the needs of Hispanic and Latino communities, the expansion of evidence-based practices and workforce development that better serves the Hispanic and Latino communities, and the building of relationships with researchers and other organizations to provide more accessible, appropriate and responsive services. NHL-PTTC is committed to increasing health equity and access to effective culturally and linguistically grounded approaches. These programs and services are a valuable resource that is available to everyone. Prevention practitioners and organizations are invited to partner with NHL-PTTC to make the most use of the existing resources and to encourage the development of new programs.


For more information contact the NHL-PTTC:






References 2021. Introduction to COVID-19 Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities. 2020. Retrieved from

Kaiser Family Foundation 2021. State Health Facts - Population Distribution by Race/Ethnicity. Retrieved from,%22sort%22:%22asc%22%7D

League of United Latin American Citizens. Labor Day 2020: Gratitude for America’s Latino Essential Workers. Retrieved from

National Hispanic and Latino Addiction Technology Transfer Center.

National Hispanic and Latino Prevention Technology Transfer Center.

National Hispanic and Latino ATTC and PTTC eCompendium of Evidence-Based Programs and accompanying Guide.

National Latino Behavioral Health Association.

National Council of Hispanic Employment Managers. 2021 Hispanic Heritage Month Theme. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health 2021. Profile: Hispanic/Latino Americans. Retrieved from 2021. Behavioral Health Equity Hispanic/Latino. 2021.  2019 National Survey On Drug Use And Health: Hispanics, Latino Or Spanish Origin Or Descent.


September 8, 2021
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