Hispanics Face Barriers to Health Services, Coverage
Hispanics in California face a disproportionately lower rate of health care access than other populations due to a low rate of health care coverage and a shortage of Spanish-speaking physicians, among other factors, the San Jose Mercury News reports.
About 28% of Hispanics are uninsured -- more than three times the rate of uninsured whites, according to the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research.
Furthermore, Hispanic adults have a disproportionately higher rate of diabetes, and Hispanic women face the highest rate of invasive cervical cancer in California.
Lupe Alonzo-Diaz, director of the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, said that fewer than 5% of working physicians in California are Hispanic, although Hispanics comprise one-third of the state's population. Such a disparity creates cultural and language barriers that could affect care, she added.
Alonzo-Diaz proposes creating a mentoring program that would link students at an early age with health care professionals and introduce them to the possibilities of a medical career.
In addition, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists is hosting a forum on the issue on Tuesday as part of the launch of its annual meeting in San Jose (Olvera, San Jose Mercury News, 6/10).