Hispanic/Latino physicians need to participate as partners in the fight to decrease disparities in healthcare deliverypaper chain

As Hispanic/Latino physicians, we are challenged daily to enable our patients to receive optimum health care. The Hispanic/Latino patient population faces many unique obstacles to achieving this goal. These include language barriers, cultural understanding, socio-economic factors, and comorbidities of obesity and diabetes. These factors can lead to poor health outcomes.

Statistics tell us that there is a worsening shortage of doctors that are racially and ethnically concordant (who have language skills and cultural familiarity needed to serve Hispanic patients). Thus we need a call to action at the national and state levels to increase the ranks of Hispanic physicians. In addition, those of us physicians (Hispanic and non-Hispanic) who serve the Hispanic/Latino population in all regions of this country must educate our patients and the public to raise awareness of these important issues that affect the Hispanic/Latino community.

Increasing the number of Hispanic/Latino physicians may help reverse disparities in healthcare delivery to some degree; however, all physicians must be made more aware of the unique cultural and epidemiological requirements of the H/L community to leverage that perspective.

There has been a growing numbers of Hispanics in the population, but no corresponding increase in Hispanic physicians to help serve the population. The call to action is to have Hispanic physicians take a leadership role in terms of increasing our numbers and lead the charge in understanding the challenges our Hispanic population face. The H/L population is exploding and no longer residing just in the Southwest. They are found in all regions of the United States. Non-Hispanic physicians increasingly encounter these patients in their practice. They must be educated in cultural competency/sensitivity so that they can provide HEALTH EQUITY.

Ramon Jimenez, MD and Erick Santos, MD, Ph.D.