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More Minorities Needed in Health Care

El Diario/La Prensa, Posted: Jul 23, 2009

NEW YORK -- Language and cultural barriers play a major role in the health care disparities afflicting minority populations, but they can be reduced through comprehensive health care reform, according to a commentary in El Diario/La Prensa. Writer Jason Leon, executive director of the Consejo Laboral para el Progreso Latinoamericano, notes that some of the disparities can be attributed to economic and geographic circumstances. But ensuring clear doctor-patient communication is also a very important factor in the health care system, he notes. While African Americans, Latinos and American Indians represent more than 25 percent of the population, the percentage of nurses and physicians who are African-American or Latino is only nine and six percent respectively, he writes. Leon calls on lawmakers to include language in the reform bill that will attract minorities to pursue health care as a career.

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