Hispanic Heritage Month underscores need to address health disparities

Date: Sep 15 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Media Relations 

The American Public Health Association joins in celebrating and recognizing National Hispanic Heritage Month, which offers an opportunity to raise awareness about the health inequities faced by Hispanic communities.

“As we celebrate Hispanic heritage, we should take note of the importance of ensuring everyone has the opportunity to achieve their best health,” said Georges C. Benjamin, MD, executive director of the American Public Health Association. “The coronavirus pandemic has reminded us we have a long way to go in that regard.”

The Hispanic and Latino community has been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, accounting more than 30% percent of COVID-19 cases nationally, and more than 74% of work-related cases as many Hispanics are employed in the service industry, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The COVID-19 impact, added to the fact that Hispanics have the highest uninsured rates of any racial or ethnic group in the U.S., reflect the need for improved access to health care services and testing, Benjamin said.

“It’s vitally important that community and education programs are buttressed to spread the message about how people can protect themselves during this pandemic,” Benjamin added. “And we have to do all we can to improve data collection and outreach especially in communities of color.”

There are more than 60.6 million Hispanic residents in the U.S., and people of Hispanic origin are the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority, about 18.5% of the population.

“This month, as we honor Hispanics in the community and their contributions to the U.S., we must also work to ensure that they rightfully attain the health they and all of us deserve,” Benjamin said.

A collection of Spanish-language COVID-19 resources is available at COVIDGuia.org.

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The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We are the only organization that combines a nearly 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Learn more at www.apha.org.