Latinos and Health Care
By Elena Rios, M.D., M.S.P.H., President & CEO, National Hispanic Medical Association
The White House announced that 10 percent of the 14 percent of eligible Latinos signed-up for more affordable health insurance in the Marketplace run by the federal government, or in the case of 17 states, run by states. There were more Latinos who signed up for Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance, so given the website debacle, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is a huge success for access to health, wellness and prevention services for Latinos.
Now that we have Latinos interested in healthcare, the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA), which represents 50,000 physicians in the U.S., is asking you to educate your friends on how to live healthier lives. We recommend schools increase awareness of students and parents about the importance of physical activity in daily activities and nutrition and enforce state laws; Support nutritious food and beverages and support free drinking water; Require teachers to educate parents about mandated health appraisals of their children; Enhance School-Based clinic policies in the ACA.
We recommend that we mobilize the community around the ACA with Town Hall Meetings and build awareness about prevention services through the internet, TV, phone calls, community programs like the Saturday Family Adventure, for doctors’ offices to open enrollment for child wellness, community gatherings – raffles, and metro cards.
We recommend that we develop social media apps, chats and the support of campaigns that focus on obesity reduction interventions on TV, radio, and internet with simple messages about costs and benefits of prevention of obesity and the consequences of diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure and stroke and ban advertising of unhealthy food and beverages to children.
The government should continue to support counseling programs for Latino students, and health professions schools through STEM programs in the Department of Education, NSF, NIH, HRSA.
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