After losing many close friends to HIV/AIDS, Elia Chino decided to take action. The result of her desire to help end the devastation wrought by this disease in the Latino community was the founding of the Fundación Latino Americana Contra El Sida, Inc. (F.L.A.S. Inc.) in 1994. FLAS provides HIV, STD, substance abuse and pregnancy prevention group intervention services for families and adolescents throughout the Greater Houston area.
A Michoacán-born immigrant, Chino has called Houston home for over 29 years. During that time she has forged a reputation as a determined health and wellness advocate who works tirelessly to educate people about preventable diseases. Ms. Chino is a former member of the city of Houston’s Community Planning Group (CPG) and the former chair of the city’s Latino HIV Task Force.
“The key to the success of FLAS,” says Chino, “is working closely with other non-profit organizations, as well as with local, state and federal governments and with the following Consulates: Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Peru and Colombia. We participate in the consulates’ Binational Health week, Houston’s National HIV Testing Day, National Latino AIDS Awareness Day and World AIDS Day throughout the Greater Houston Area. A former member of the City of Houston’s Community Planning Group and City’s Latino HIV Task Force fuels Ms. Chino’s passion and commitment to help our community.
Ms. Chino has been recognized repeatedly for her tremendous efforts in working to create a healthier environment for members of the Latino community. She was invited to be a guest speaker on Sabado Gigante, a TV program broadcast internationally on Univision, and was named an “Anonymous Hero” by the host Don Francisco in 2006. She has participated in several media programs such as Azteca, La Tremenda, Telemundo, Univision, CBS Radio and Fox 26; published in Rumbo, La Voz, El Periódico Buena Suerte, La Semana and La Prensa. In 2009, she was chosen Telemundo’s “Heroes Hispanos” and Sheriff Adrian Garcia honored her with a nomination of Deputy Sheriff for Harris County.
As the Founder and Executive Director of FLAS, I have seen our agency develop and grow to become one of the leading Latin American organizations in Texas. Our staff’s and volunteers’ commitment, dedication, compassion and forethought provide a sense of belonging for all those infected with and affected by HIV/AIDS throughout the Greater Houston Area. We work to improve our clients’ overall quality of life by offering a wide range of services in a culturally sensitive and embracing approach.
My dreams and hopes now, tomorrow, and for the future are that together, we will end the spread of HIV/AIDS.