Dear HCOE community,
I am the Director for the Hispanic Center of Excellence at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Raised in Pilsen by Mexican immigrants, I know well the struggles faced by Hispanic communities endeavoring to provide opportunities for children. I am fortunate to have participated in pathways programs that changed the trajectory of my life.
Health Providers who speak the same language, share culture and commonalities in lived experiences with patients are better able to establish trust, engage in shared decision making, and make treatment plans that promote the best health outcomes for patients and their communities. The Hispanic Center of Excellence (HCOE) has played an important role in the success of students across a continuum that stretches from high school through to higher education programs for thirty years and was recently recognized for these efforts with a Proclamation by the Senate Latino Caucus.
However, according to the American Association of Medical Colleges, the United States will need over 40,000 additional physicians over the next 15 years to care for the growing and aging Hispanic population alone. The COVID 19 pandemic has created new struggles for our Hispanic communities and new challenges for our students.
It is with great urgency that we must forge ahead and guide students on their path to becoming leaders charged with a mission to bring justice and equity to all patients and communities.
We hope that you will enjoy reading further about the current programs and that you will join in supporting innovations to come.