NYU School of Medicine and Bellevue to examine health issues in hispanic population

Renowned Latino leaders in the health and political community will gather at a free two-day conference to discuss issues affecting the community at “Latino Health: Progress through Action”. This event, which is the largest in the northeast region, is hosted annually by New York University School of Medicine and Bellevue Hospital Center and will be held at NYU School of Medicine’s Farkas Auditorium.

The event begins on Friday April 30 at 6:00 p.m. with speakers and award presentations and continues on Saturday, May 1, with concurrent all-day sessions from 9:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

Key note speakers at Friday’s evening event include New York State Assemblyman Peter Rivera, and President and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association, Elena Rios, MD. United States Surgeon General Vice-Admiral Richard Carmona, MD, MPH, FACS and Ildaura Murillo-Rhode, RN, PhD will receive awards from New York School of Medicine. David Diaz and Pablo Guzman of WCBS-TV, Channel 2 New York will announce the NYU Community Service Award, to be named after popular civil rights advocate, Richie Perez.

“This conference seeks to address the disparity in the provision of healthcare by directly focusing on healthcare practitioners. Influencing the providers has a direct impact on the community they serve,” said Miguel Sanchez, MD, Associate Professor and Conference Director. “The need to find solutions to the health problems affecting Hispanics in this country is critically pressing as disparities in the quality of healthcare, propensity for certain diseases, and lack of access to treatment become increasingly evident.”

The conference will review and update participants on diseases affecting Latinos, discuss healthcare challenges facing Latino communities, and establish agendas for change by developing strategies to decrease health disparities. It will explore partnerships between Latino community organizations and healthcare institutions focusing on prevention and treatment of diseases. It will also promote opportunities in academic medicine, scientific research, and health careers and is geared toward physicians and other health professionals, community leaders and public advocates who are involved in creating networks and programs to decrease health disparities in the Latino community.

Recent reports by the National Institutes of Medicine indicate the scope and severity of health disparities in minority communities. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Latinos have one of the worst health status in this country, when adjusted for age. Latinos have higher rates of cancers of the stomach, liver, cervix and biliary tract. Two million Hispanic-American adults have diabetes, yet it is estimated that one in three is not aware of the condition. New cases of AIDS are reported three times as frequently in Hispanics as in non-minority Americans; and three in four Mexican children younger than 17 years of age have gingivitis. According to experts, the health status of Hispanics in this country often deteriorates due to factors such as changes in diet and physical activity.
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Panelists will discuss the high percentage of Hispanics without health insurance and the resulting difficulty accessing treatment. According to a recent study from The Commonwealth Fund, at least 40 percent of Hispanics have no form of health insurance. Two-thirds of uninsured Spanish-speaking Hispanics do not have a regular doctor and nearly 1in 3 report that they are not in good health, more than twice the expected rate. It is also noted that Hispanics are at a higher risk than average for injury or death due to occupational hazards, street violence, or car crashes. The leading cause of death for Hispanics ages 1-34 is traffic accidents.

The interaction and collaboration between health professionals and community leaders will generate new ideas to address the community’s health problems. Physicians and other healthcare practitioners will garner knowledge to improve their delivery of healthcare, becoming simultaneously aware of the socioeconomic and cultural barriers in Latino communities.

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