National Hispanic Heritage Month Blog by Dr. Fátima Coronado

Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) is a time to honor the achievements, culture and contributions of the Hispanic and Latino community to the nation’s history. It is an occasion to highlight the positive influence of Hispanics and Latinos throughout the country’s history, and this year we take the opportunity to recognize that our country is stronger, healthier and safer when we recognize our shared humanity and value each individual and community: We Are All, We Are One: We Are All, We Are One.

As the American population becomes more diverse, Hispanic Heritage Month offers a valuable opportunity to foster cross-cultural understanding and appreciation, break down stereotypes, and promote inclusion. As a Hispanic in the United States, I realize that the celebration not only brings people together in gatherings, promoting unity and solidarity and reinforcing our shared heritage and common experiences, but also serves as a reminder of the challenges and inequalities that Hispanic communities face. .

Unequal access to education, health care, and equal opportunity significantly impacts the well-being and health of Hispanics, as well as other minority populations. For example, in 2022, only 88% of Hispanic young adults had completed high school, compared to 97% of non-Hispanic white young adults.1 Lower educational levels can limit job opportunities, leading to lower incomes, which often means reduced access to quality healthcare and the ability to begin managing chronic diseases at an early stage. The result is often worse health outcomes.

Hispanic adults living in the United States are also more likely to have type 2 diabetes compared to non-Hispanic white adults and are less likely to be aware of risks related to cardiovascular diseases (CVD), such as high blood pressure. , compared to their non-Hispanics. -White Hispanics and non-Hispanic blacks.2 Even when diagnosed with high blood pressure, Hispanic adults are less likely to receive treatment or manage their condition.3

Addressing the burden of chronic disease in Hispanic communities is an opportunity to drive prosperity, power and progress for the entire country. A healthier population is more productive, leading to economic growth and greater well-being for everyone, not just Hispanic communities. Ultimately, our ability to thrive and build a better future for our children depends on our commitment to protecting and promoting the health of all Americans.

Addressing disparities in the burden of chronic diseases and social determinants of health requires strategic partnerships between government and community organizations and underutilized collaborations. These collaborations can lead to early detection and treatment of chronic diseases by raising awareness about healthy lifestyle choices and the importance of preventive care. They can also facilitate policy, system, and environmental changes to ensure access to culturally sensitive and easily accessible health care for Hispanic communities. Additionally, promoting education, improving transportation options, creating equal employment opportunities, and actively engaging Hispanic communities in the design of health programs can go a long way toward promoting health equity.

The importance of Hispanic Heritage Month extends far beyond the limits of a single month; Embracing and celebrating Hispanic heritage should be a year-round endeavor. Likewise, prioritizing the health of every person in the United States is essential to ensuring that we can all enjoy the progress and prosperity we have achieved and pass it on to future generations. The Hispanic population has made lasting contributions to the country and will continue to do so. Let’s ensure that Hispanic heritage remains an integral part of our collective identity by engaging partners and promoting strategies to prevent disparities in chronic conditions and promote healthier Hispanic communities.


Final notes

1 National Center for Educational Statistics. Educational level of young adults. Accessed July 28, 2023. https://nces.ed.gov/programs/coe/indicator/caa/young-adult-attainment

2 National Center for Health Statistics. Percentage of coronary heart disease in adults aged 18 years and older, United States, 2019-2021. Accessed August 14, 2023. https://wwwn.cdc.gov/NHISDataQueryTool/SHS_adult/index.html

3 Abrahamowicz AA, Ebinger J, WHelton SP, Commodore-Mensah Y, Yang E. Racial and ethnic disparities in hypertension: barriers and opportunities to improve blood pressure control. Curr Cardiol Representative. 2023;25(1)L17-27

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