September 29, 2022
Area(s) of Interest: Advocacy
In conjunction with Latinx Physicians of California, and in recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month and National Latino Physician Day, California Medical Association (CMA) President-Elect, Donaldo Hernandez, M.D., FACP, highlighted the growing disparity between the number of Latinx health care providers and the growing number of Latinx patients.
“To ensure all Californians have access to the high-quality health care they need to lead long and healthy lives, we must reduce health disparities and health inequities,” said CMA President-Elect Donaldo Hernandez, M.D., FACP. “As one of the most racially diverse states in the nation, California has a critical responsibility to address health disparities experienced by people of color.”
In the most recent census, people identifying as Latino/Hispanic now constitute over 39% of California’s population and that number continues to trend up. Also, Spanish remains the state’s second most widely spoken language. Yet, according to the California Health Care Foundation, only about 6% of all physicians in the state are Latino, with Latinx/o/a enrollment in California medical schools also close to 6%.
Research consistently shows that a diverse physician work force, particularly physicians possessing both cultural and linguistic competence aligned with the communities they serve, improves access to care, greater patient satisfaction, better communication and improved overall health outcomes. Promoting diversity in the physician workforce is fundamental to providing high-quality access to care and achieving equitable health outcomes across all U.S. populations.
“On National Latino Physician Day, and every day, CMA continues our unwavering commitment to the health of all of California’s diverse communities,” continued Dr. Hernandez. “We seek to partner with all interested and invested stakeholders to strengthen California’s health care workforce by developing a diverse pipeline through college and medical school that will eventually serve those populations most in need.”