While there are countless accomplishments to celebrate this month, it’s also a time to reflect on the adversity Hispanics across the nation continue to face.
One problem that is particularly dear to me is the overall lower standard of health Hispanics endure. Compared to our non-Hispanic white peers, our community suffers from higher rates of obesity, lower life expectancy and other critical health disparities.
Narrowing the gap
A contributing factor to poorer health outcomes for Hispanic Americans is a lack of representation in medical research. This research, which informs diagnoses and treatment programs, simply does not take our community’s specific needs into consideration. Physicians that serve our communities feel as though they are unable to provide the best care for their patients due to a lack of important medical research addressing our specific needs.
This Hispanic Heritage Month, along with other healthcare professionals, I am focused on righting this wrong that causes so much pain to our community. We’re doing so by highlighting the important work of the “All of Us” Research Program. Its ultimate goal is accelerating health research breakthroughs. More than one million people will be asked to anonymously contribute their personal health information for the purpose of compiling a research database. That will provide doctors valuable, specific information, allowing them to more accurately treat patients based on their background, lifestyle, environment and genetic makeup.
Uniting for a common cause
The “All of Us” Research Program is committed to reaching and recruiting individuals from all ethnicities and walks of life. The result will be a database that represents the true diversity of our nation. By including all communities, medical treatments will be designed with specific, personal needs in mind, rather than merely those who have historically dominated the research process.
As Hispanics, we share a common bond. This month allows us to unite and inspire positive change for generations to come. Enrollment for the “All of Us” Research Program opened this spring. Personally, I am proud to participate in this revolutionary program. I hope you’ll join us.
Dr. Elena Rios, President & CEO, National Hispanic Medical Association, [email protected]