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Health Disparities among Latinos
According to Vasquez and Mejia (2008), the ten leading causes of death in the United States in 2002 for the Latino population are:
Vasquez and Mejia (2008) also note that “Factors that contribute to poor health outcomes among Latinos include language and cultural barriers lack of access to preventative care, and lack of health insurance.”
Rodriguez, Bustamante, and Ang (2009), report that many factors influence the state of health of the Latino population, including reportedly less access to healthcare due to lack of insurance or underutilization. They also suggest that Latinos visit physicians less frequently, have fewer emergency service visits, and infrequent regular care which increase incidence of illness.
While there are many factors contributing to health disparity within the Latino population, discrimination and perceived discrimination seem to be the most prominent (Perez, Sribney, and Rodriguez, 2009).
What can WE do?
As providers we can recognize cultural, beliefs, and value systems. Moreover we can accept these and incorporate them into patient care.
Improve basic communication, utilizing technology (ie. translator phones or internet translators etc.), or live translators.
Education in fundamental for this population. Identify ways to integrate Latino culture into purposeful and meaningful teaching.
Perez, D., Sribney, W., Rodriguez, M. (2009). Perceived Discrimination and Self-Reported Quality of Care Among Latinos in the United States. J Gen Intern Med, 24 (Suppl3), 548-54.
Rodriguez, M., Bustamante, A.V., Ang, A. (2009). Perceived Quality of Care, Receipt of Preventative Care, and Usual Source of Health Care Among Undocumented and Other Latinos. J Gen Intern Med, 24 (Suppl3), 508-13.
Vasquez, E., Mejia, N.E. (2008). Sharing the Burden: Health Disparities Among Latinos. Hispanic Health Care International, 6 (1), 2-4.