Every day, chronically ill Latino patients stream into Harbor-UCLA Medical Center’s family medicine clinic.
Some have neglected their health because they’re flummoxed or alienated by the medical system, Dr. Gloria Sanchez believes — in desperate need of care from providers who understand their words and their problems.
“Latino physicians tend to be that bridge, this critical piece of healthcare communication,” she said.
But such doctors are in short supply, said Sanchez, a professor and physician at the Harbor City facility.
Latinos as a group suffer disproportionately from poverty-related conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Under the Affordable Care Act, more of them than ever have access to coverage.
But in a recent analysis published by the journal Academic Medicine,Sanchez and colleagues found that the number of Latino physicians was not keeping pace with population growth and suggested that correcting the imbalance could be key to addressing Latino health disparities.
Why not focus on making immigrants learn to speak English? If they’re entitled to American entitlements, Americans are entitled to having them learn the common language.
The lumps in the melting pot are lumps of their own choosing.