Representation matters, especially when it comes to your health

(NewMediaWire) – October 17, 2022 – DALLAS Due to long-standing systemic disparities, Latino and black adults tend to be less satisfied with their interactions with doctors and may not receive the same quality of care. About 19% of people in the US identify as Hispanic, but less than 7% of doctors do[1]. The lack of representation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields exacerbates the health disparities and barriers that impact the Latino community.[2] As an advocate for equitable health for all, the American Heart Association, the leading global voluntary health organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke for all – supported by the Association’s volunteers and its Hispanic-Latin American staff, formed the National Latin American Cardiovascular Collaborative (NHLCC ) to help bridge the gap.

The collaboration will create an opportunity for greater Latino representation in clinical, research and public health communities to in turn help further empower the next generation of Hispanic health professionals by providing networking and mentoring opportunities for its members . The Collaborative’s goal is to advance the treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease and stroke, in support of the Hispanic community, by reducing and eliminating health disparities that prevent people from living fulfilling lives. Together, the Collaboration and the Association strive to improve professional development in Latin American cardiovascular disease for both the Association’s volunteers and its professional members. Scientific research confirms that representation among nurses, physicians and healthcare teams improves overall patient outcomes and breaks down cultural barriers.[3]

A study conducted by Penn State University researchers revealed that patients prefer a doctor who shares their race and ethnicity.[4] The study highlights the need for health systems to address issues of implicit bias while working to diversify the overall physician workforce. The Collaborative will become an advisory group to the American Heart Association, with a specific focus on helping the organization achieve its 2024 health equity impact goal.

During the American Heart Association Annual Scientific Sessions in Chicago, beginning November 5, 2022, the Collaborative will make its public debut, providing mentorship, education, and empowering experiences to third- and fourth-year Latino medical students located in the vicinity of Chicago area. Scientific Sessions is the leading global research event focused on improving health through championing scientific discoveries and practice-changing educational content.

“As the American Heart Association strives for health equity in cardiovascular health, we are excited to support the National Latin American Cardiovascular Collaborative to elevate the voices and experiences of these communities in an effort to improve health and well-being.” said Eduardo Sanchez, MD, MPH, FAHA, chief medical officer for prevention for the American Heart Association and executive sponsor of the National Latin American Cardiovascular Collaborative.

To learn more about the Collaborative and how to become a member, visit: professional.heart.org/NHLCC

To learn more or to register for Scientific Sessions 2022, visit: professional.heart.org/en/meetings/scientific-sessions

Additional resources

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a relentless force for a world of longer, healthier lives. We are dedicated to ensuring equitable health in all communities. Through collaboration with numerous organizations and supported by millions of volunteers, we fund innovative research, advocate for public health and share life-saving resources. The Dallas-based organization has been a leading source of health information for nearly a century. Contact us at heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

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For media inquiries: 214-706-1173

Elizabeth Nickerson Hill: [email protected]

For public inquiries: 800-AHA-USA1 (242-8721)

heart.org and stroke.org

[1] Diversity in Health Care and the Importance of Representation | usa.edu

[2] Cultural competence and ethnic diversity in health care

[3] Why Representation Matters in Nursing | NurseJournal.org

[4] Association of Patient-Physician Racial/Ethnic and Gender Congruence with Ratings of Patient Experience | Health Disparities | JAMA Network Open | JAMA Network

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