Division of FaithHealth News: Wave of Love … and Information
When Rev. Enrique Catana, a community health worker with the Division of FaithHealth, set up Radio Onda de Amor (wave of love) about five years ago, it was a personal project borne of his love of music, his background as a disc jockey and his desire to help share information with the Latinx community.
The COVID-19 pandemic took his online station, a totally volunteer effort on his part, to a new level of importance.
Catana proudly notes that the station, which has had more than 13,000 listeners (its Facebook page has more than 4,000 followers), is an important part of sharing information in a way that promotes learning and knowledge.
“Whatever information was out there—mass events for masking, vaccination, food pantry—we focused on providing for the community,” Catana says. “We had everything about COVID: the disease, the virus, when vaccines arrived; we focused on the vaccine campaign and people could get them via the health department, nonprofits, churches, hospitals free clinics. We invited the community to vaccinate so they could be safe from the virus.”
Catana says a new issue has become evident, both during the pandemic and now, as it recedes. It’s an issue clear to the people who’ve been a key part of providing support for and information to Radio Onda de Amor: Camila Pulgar, a former CareNet therapist now working as a clinician with Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Family Medicine; Rev. Francis Rivers Meza, supervisory faculty in the Division of FaithHealth; Pastor Daniel Sostaita of Sin Fronteras Iglesia Cristiana; as well as Gary Gunderson, the vice president of the Division of FaithHealth, and Jeremy Moseley, associate vice president of the division.
“We decided to start talking about mental health, started streamlining topics about depression, anxiety, how to handle grief,” Catana says. “Each month we discussed a strategy, which topic to talk about.
“We’re also prerecording materials and delivering them to social media and faith groups. This month, for example, we looking at mental health as the main topic, and our topics have included subjects such as men’s health, parenting, drugs and alcohol use.”
In 2020, Catana won a Latino Diamante Award for making significant contributions to the Latino/Hispanic community of North Carolina. He wants to keep doing more.
“It gives me a lot of satisfaction and pride that I’m able to help others through my skills, my knowledge, my experience,” Catana says. “And I’m really grateful with getting experience in a health system in which I can use my digital skills in a way that benefits the community. I think it’s a call from God.”
He says he believes the most important message to get out next is reducing barriers people face, whether it is getting mental health care, language, lack of access to health insurance, lack of access because of cultural competence, legal status or acculturation. Through his full-time work for FaithHealth in community health work, and the digital world of Radio Onda de Amor, Catana says he hopes to keep the Latinx community—many of whom struggle because of the barriers—connected and informed.