At New Bicultural Health Portal, There’s always a Doctor in the House...

At New Bicultural Health Portal, There’s always a Doctor in the House to Inform Physicians, Latino Patients

National Hispanic Medical Association launches major bicultural web portal


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San Antonio, TX–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–March 22, 2007–As they work to reduce diabetes and obesity in the Hispanic community, doctors have a new instrument in their medical bag – an interactive Web portal chockfull of advice and expertise on bicultural health care.

The bicultural portal – http://www.hispanichealth.info – focuses on diabetes and obesity, helping doctors and health professionals to coordinate information on treatment, diagnosis and the latest medical findings in a culturally competent way. It’s a resource for health professionals and the public, accessible from anywhere.

The portal, a service of National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA), is being unveiled at NHMA’s 11th annual conference March 22-25 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in San Antonio.

A press conference will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, March 23, at the Crowne Plaza in the Executive Salon Room 4. Topics to be discussed include bicultural strategies to address obesity, diabetes, rising dementia in the Hispanic population and bicultural health care.

“We’re excited to be a partner in this groundbreaking project,” said Dr. Elena Rios, NHMA’s president. “There isn’t one place in the world where a doctor or nurse can go to find health care information for a Hispanic patient. Now the latest medical information will be available at their fingertips at http://www.hispanichealth.info.”

NHMA’s annual conference – “Celebrando La Diversidad: Bicultural Health Care Is a National Priority” – will draw Hispanic doctors and health experts from across the U.S. They will explore such topics as breakthrough treatments, cultural issues, U.S.-Mexico border health and dementia and will learn about groundbreaking research and the latest developments on obesity and diabetes. In addition, Dr. Enrique Rios from Mexico’s Ministry of Health will speak.

“We’re coming to San Antonio, the third-largest city in Texas – with a 58 percent Hispanic population, to learn firsthand from physicians who regularly treat Latinos,” Rios said. “These doctors are experts on bicultural health. And as other parts of the U.S. become more Hispanic, other doctors will benefit from their understanding of issues particular to Latinos, including language and cultural barriers and differences in treatments.”

Rios noted that San Antonio, where the rate of diabetes is among the highest in the U.S., has a nationally recognized school health program on diabetes and obesity prevention that other U.S. cities can copy.

Diabetes is no longer a disease of middle age – it is occurring at alarming rates in younger people, especially Latinos, who are 1.5 times more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites. The University Health System in San Antonio is home to the world-renowned Texas Diabetes Institute, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive diabetes center.

NHMA’s goal is to make this health portal a knowledge base for improving lives of Hispanic Americans.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, diabetes will rise 165 percent in the U.S. by 2050. Already, 18.2 million Americans have diabetes. In San Antonio alone, 18 percent of children have Type 2 diabetes, as of 2005.

The portal serves as a hub for doctors to share information on bicultural health issues in English and Spanish – primarily obesity and diabetes in the future, but also HIV, cancer and prenatal care – and treatments to help them deliver better care to Hispanic communities.

The Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – in collaboration with NHMA, the National Hispanic Health Professions Leadership Network and the NHMA Council of Medical Societies – are funding it. The portal will offer a calendar of events to point to regional health conferences for medical professionals to keep up with the latest trends and information.

“In addition, they can learn how to best communicate with their Latino patients, bridging cultural and other barriers,” said Dr. Garth N. Graham, deputy assistant secretary for the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Speakers at NHMA’s conference include Graham; Dr. Francisco Cigarroa, president of the University of Texas Health Center at San Antonio; and Dr. Fernando Guerra, director of the San Antonio Metropolitan Health District.

Also at the conference, NHMA will give a corporate award to Major League Baseball for their interest in partnering with NHMA on its childhood obesity campaign.

Established in 1994 in Washington, DC, NHMA is a nonprofit association that represents licensed Hispanic physicians in the U.S. in its mission to improve health care for Hispanics and the underserved. For more information, visit http://www.nhmamd.org.

At New Bicultural Health Portal, There’s always a Doctor in the House to Inform Physicians, Latino Patients