What we can do to help Latinos struggling in the health care system

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — A report released Wednesday by Common Ground Health shows Latino adults are more likely to have challenges accessing health care.

The survey done across the Finger Lakes shows the Latino population is now well over 90,000 people. This makes the health assessment even more important to get the word out.

“This report and the data in this report is my lived experience. It’s the things that I saw growing up and it really speaks to a reality that has been present in our community for generations,” Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Ibero American Action League Julio Jordan said.

Jordan has seen Latinos, including himself, struggle with the health care system.

“I will say for my father, who didn’t speak English, having me be the translator for him, a lot of times I didn’t know the terminology that the doctor was telling me in English. So I tried my best but I don’t think that a child should be translating for their parents,” Jordan said.

As a child, Julio couldn’t realize the pressure that was put on him and other children like him, who had to get their parents’ diagnosis first.

According to the report, Latino adults are 54% more likely to have diabetes than white adults. This is because they don’t receive adequate education on diabetes due to the language barrier.

“The biggest concerning things that continue to face our community is the lack of interpreters,” President and CEO of Ibero American Action League Angelica Perez-Delgado said. “As a community we’re very humble and very proud so having to walk in a room to say that you need help and that you’re struggling with depression or anxiety — it’s already a huge challenge,”

Now, the team at Ibero is pushing to get more Latino kids into the health care profession to help alleviate these struggles. As of 2019, only about 7% of the working population for both registered nurses and doctors were Latino.

“Having someone relate from not only a cultural standpoint but also from a linguistic standpoint, it’s important, it’s crucial,” Jordan said.

The report says that a number of these health issues can be attributed to the fact that Latino residents often live in areas with high rates of poverty, which is associated with health inequities.

Common Ground Health is asking for people who don’t have these struggles to read the report.

For the Spanish version of the report, click here.