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Hispanic Heritage Month: Addressing Health Disparities and Celebrating Unique Cultures

Hispanic heritage month featured image introducing the article from Office for the Aging

From September 15 to October 15, we commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month. Representing 19% of New York State’s population, this is a prime time to not only celebrate the rich Hispanic culture, language, and customs but also to focus on health and socio-economic disparities this group faces.

Did you know the challenges faced by the hispanic community?

Health Concerns: Health disparities, amplified by the lack of culturally tailored services, have led to poorer health outcomes for the Hispanic community. The Hispanic Federation suggests several measures to combat these disparities, including increasing culturally sensitive providers, addressing transportation challenges, and enhancing translation services, especially in healthcare. Emphasis is also placed on addressing food insecurity through culturally appropriate programs.

Startling Statistics: In New York, Hispanic/Latino families are three times more likely to live in poverty compared to Non-Hispanic White families. They also face higher rates of HIV, asthma hospitalizations, and lack of insurance.

Cultural Nuances: It’s vital for healthcare professionals to understand and respect Hispanic cultural practices, such as valuing present time orientation and including family in healthcare discussions. The Joint Commission’s “A Pocket Guide for Health Care Professionals” offers detailed guidance on such interactions.

Demographic Information: New York ranks fourth in the U.S. for its Hispanic population size. Counties show varied percentages of Hispanic residents, with Suffolk County leading in numbers and Westchester in proportion.

Resources: Dive deeper into the data and recommendations through resources from the NYSOFA’s Series on Community Engagement, Commonwealth Fund’s report on Hispanic health disparities, New York State Department of Health, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Dive Deeper

For those curious about the distinction between the terms “Hispanic” and “Latino”, our previous article featuring Doris Karpeh-Diaz provides valuable insights.

Read the full article by Colleen Scott, NYSOFA Advocacy Specialist Here.

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