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Health Disparities among Latinx Communities: Issues of Access to Information, Interpreters, and Bilingual Providers
Shea Wenzler, Depts. of Psychology and Political Science, Roma Kankaria, Sydney Welles, and Anubhav Thapaliya, with Dr. Indira Sultanić, School of World Studies
Members of the Latinx community in Richmond and the United States face challenges in obtaining equitable health care access because of socioeconomic and systematic barriers within the healthcare system. This analysis conducted by the Collective Corazón—a VCU student organization that addresses Latinx healthy equity through service and advocacy—examines the underlying causes of Latinx health disparities. Special emphasis is placed on access to just, equitable, and ethical care, information, qualified interpreters, and bilingual healthcare providers—with the objective of proposing viable solutions to alleviate health disparities. This study found that while the U.S. Census Bureau identifies the Latinx population as the fastest growing demographic in the country, the group’s average income and educational attainment fall below the national average, causing increased amounts of stress and thus contributing to poor mental and physical health outcomes. The health disparities created by these socioeconomic factors are further exacerbated by discrimination by healthcare workers and language barriers that result from a lack of qualified interpreters and bilingual providers. This situation creates a cultural divide in which Latinx individuals who are less comfortable speaking English are more likely to turn to alternative forms of support, such as religious and community institutions. This study contends that increasing physician and interpreter training, designing and delivering culturally specific eHealth and Telehealth tools, connecting language access to patient safety and quality of care, and encouraging connections with community leaders are ways to lessen the challenges faced by Latinx individuals in healthcare.
Indira Sultanić, Ph.D.
Virginia Commonwealth University. Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program
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VCU Undergraduate Research Posters
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