New journal focuses on care for Hispanics

Diabetes and asthma in the nation's largest minority group are two of the topics discussed in the first issue.

By Damon Adams — Posted Aug. 23, 2004

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An annual journal to help physicians improve care to Hispanics has been published by two medical associations.

The first issue of Caring for Hispanic Patients was mailed to doctors in late July and features articles on diseases that disproportionately affect those in the Hispanic community.

"We're very interested in improving the interest of doctors in how to better treat Hispanic patients. That's what cultural competency is all about," said Elena Rios, MD, president and chief executive officer of the National Hispanic Medical Assn.

The association is partnering with the American Academy of Family Physicians to publish the journal. More than 94,000 AAFP members and 1,000 NHMA members received Caring for Hispanic Patients.

Hispanics are the nation's largest minority group, making up 13% of the U.S. population. The AAFP said family doctors handle 19% of all office visits by Hispanics, second to general internists. Half of Hispanics younger than 65 are uninsured all or part of the year.

AAFP President Michael Fleming, MD, said the journal is a meaningful step in the organization's efforts to address cultural competency and to give better care to Hispanics. He said doctors need to do a better job treating Hispanic patients.

"From what we hear, no they're not [doing a good job]", he said. "There are not only issues of language, but issues of understanding the way [Hispanic patients] deal with health care."

The first issue includes articles on type 2 diabetes; asthma's choking effects; and HIV and the Hispanic community. One article said physicians should cultivate a greater understanding of the cultural values of elderly Hispanic patients. Another piece states that interpreter services can facilitate patient-physician communication, improve patient adherence and increase satisfaction with care.

Health professionals who are not members of the AAFP or NHMA can buy the journal for $10 per copy, plus shipping and handling, by calling the AAFP at 800-274-2237, ext. 5164.

"There has been a tremendous amount of positive response" to the journal, Dr. Fleming said. "It's pretty exciting."

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External links

American Academy of Family Physicians (link)

National Hispanic Medical Assn. (link)

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