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Recognizing the range of experiences among individuals of Latino, Hispanic, and/or Spanish origin is an essential step toward health equity

2024-05-28
(Press-News.org) Background: Currently, people of Latiné/e/x/o/a, Hispanic, and/or Spanish (LHS) origin make up 19.1% of the population of the U.S. There is great variation in the personal experiences and family backgrounds of LHS individuals, including differences in country of origin, time in the U.S., colonization histories and immigration experiences.

Key Argument: This essay considers the importance of recognizing the heterogeneity of lived experiences among LHS populations in the U.S. in a health care context.

Why It Matters: Race is a sociopolitical construct that is often conflated with ethnicity. Both use broadly defined categories to identify one’s biological and cultural background. One’s race and/or ethnicity (self-identified and/or perceived), however, can have a profound impact on health risks as well as health care and outcomes. Aggregating patients by broad racial or ethnic groups creates risks for clinical care and research, even when clinicians and/or researchers are sensitive to diversity issues. As we work toward more equitable health care for minoritized populations, including for LHS communities as an aggregate group, it is important to recognize both the use and limits of racial/ethnic categorization and consider more nuanced aspects of biological and cultural heritage.

Optional Quote: “There is power in unity when advocating for community, social, and political change, especially as it pertains to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) efforts in academic institutions. Yet, there is also a critical need to disaggregate the LHS diaspora and its conceptualization based on differing experiences so that we may improve our understanding of the sociopolitical attributes that impact health.”

We Are Not All the Same: Implications of Heterogeneity Among Latiné/e/x/o/a, Hispanic, and Spanish Origin People

Diana N. Carvajal, MD, MPH, et al 

Department of Family & Community Medicine, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 

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[Press-News.org] Recognizing the range of experiences among individuals of Latino, Hispanic, and/or Spanish origin is an essential step toward health equity