Since 1968, Americans have observed National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15) by celebrating the vast histories, cultures and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and South America. About one in six people living in the U.S. is Hispanic, which is predicted to keep growing.
At AdventHealth, we’re excited to honor the tremendous contributions of Hispanic health care professionals. We also take this time to encourage wellness and health equity for Hispanic populations, propelling our nation towards a brighter future.
Keep reading to learn more about health equity and health disparities that impact Hispanic communities, and notable Latino/a contributions and achievements in health care.
Health Equity and Health Disparities
Health equity means everyone has the same opportunities to reach their highest health potential. Achieving health equity requires breaking barriers to health care historically experienced by marginalized groups due to determinants beyond their control, such as socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, language, gender, age, disability status and other factors.
In stark contrast to health equity, health disparities are differences in the incidence, prevalence and mortality of a disease and the related adverse health conditions that exist among specific population groups. Here are some of the health disparities that impact our Hispanic communities:
About 46% of Hispanic people say they have a family member or close friend who requires interpretation services or a Spanish-speaking health care provider.
50% of Hispanics say that it’s difficult to understand the process of getting health care and have had negative experiences while receiving it.
To ensure accurate communication and sensitive interactions, our free Interpreter Services are available 24/7 to all AdventHealth patients and team members.
Higher Prevalence of Medical Conditions
Health disparities lead to higher prevalence of certain conditions in our Hispanic communities, which are often poorly controlled because of the barriers they face. Some of the common conditions that impact Hispanics include:
- Chronic Liver Disease: Hispanics have a higher risk of developing some liver diseases, and they are 50% more likely to die from it
- COVID-19: Hispanics have been impacted more by COVID-19 — including experiencing a greater severity of disease and accounting for 41% of COVID-19-related deaths in 2020
- Depression: Hispanics are 1.6 times more likely to suffer with depression
- Diabetes: The increased risk of diabetes in Hispanic communities is often influenced by genetics since it can be hereditary. Diet can also increase the risk. Hispanics are 66% more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes
- High Blood Pressure: Nearly 1 in 4 Hispanic people have high blood pressure, which can be a precursor to a heart attack, stroke, kidney disease or heart failure
- HIV: Hispanics are 3.6 times more likely to be diagnosed with HIV
- Obesity: Hispanics are 20% more likely to live with obesity
- Tuberculosis: Hispanics are 8 times more likely to contract tuberculosis
Hispanic Contributions to Health Care
As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we recognize and pay tribute to the amazing contributions made by Hispanics to medicine and public health. Here are just a few of the innovators whose achievements continue to better our lives every day.
Antonia Novello, MD
Born in Fajardo, Puerto Rico, Dr. Antonia Novello was the first woman and person of Hispanic heritage to become Surgeon General of the United States. As Surgeon General, Dr. Novello was among the first to recognize the need to focus on women with AIDS and neonatal transmission of HIV.
Dr. Novello found new opportunities for Hispanic/Latinx Americans to participate in health issues, convening national and regional meetings to discuss community health needs. She raised national awareness in the medical profession about the domestic violence epidemic in America and worked to elevate public consciousness about underage drinking and alcohol abuse.
Serena Auñón-Chancellor, MD
Dr. Auñón-Chancellor, the first Hispanic physician to travel to space, spent six months conducting research aboard the International Space Station (ISS) in 2018. Her work in space included experiments related to cancer and Parkinson’s disease.
Dr. Auñón-Chancellor fulfilled her childhood dream of becoming an astronaut in 2011. Before that, she completed medical school in 2001, and earned a master’s degree in public health in 2007. She notes that treating COVID-19 patients and traveling to space taught her the importance of self-care and teamwork.
Severo Ochoa, MD
Dr. Ochoa’s career covers several domains of molecular biology and biochemistry. He discovered an enzyme that can synthesize ribonucleic acid, a key step in understanding the human genetic code.
In recognition of Dr. Ochoa’s work, he became the first Hispanic person to be awarded the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.
We Celebrate Every Patient
True healing begins when you feel safe, seen and heard. At AdventHealth, we strive to build trusting relationships between patients and providers, Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ to them and their families in all our interactions. Our expert, compassionate providers are waiting to help you feel whole in body, mind and spirit.
For personalized care you can trust, schedule an appointment with one of our caring providers today.