IMMIGRANT HEALTH ISSUES
Addressing the health of diverse populations for New Mexico is imperative given the fact that approximately 57% are racial/ethnic minorities, according to the 2010 Census. The largest ethnic group is Latinos followed by Native Americans, African Americans, Asians and other minority groups. New Mexico’s racial/ethnic communities disproportionately suffer from chronic conditions such as diabetes, obesity, cancer, mental illness or drug abuse. These health differences are closely linked with social or economic disadvantages. These disadvantages are primarily due to structural inequities including institutional racism that still prevails and manifests itself in various overt and covert actions. It is critical that governmental and private entities begin addressing these racial/ethnic health inequities by investing in and developing minority leaders, using data for strategic planning and resource allocation to improve health and making systems and policy change.
Eliminating persistent health inequities is more likely to occur if people of color are in leadership positions so that they have a meaningful voice and agency to remove structural inequities and promote positive systems change to improve the health of communities they represent. Historically, people that do not represent ethnic groups and even in many instances are not native to the state are placed in high-level positions that require critical decisions to be made about the health of ethnic groups. This poses a tremendous risk with respect to addressing the priority health needs of minorities.
With a high number of immigrants in New Mexico, HEROs assist in orienting primary care clinics toward the reality of immigrant challenges, how to conduct clinic outreach to them, and help identify with whom to make contact in the community. Click below to learn how HEROs help to change policy regarding access to affordable primary care for undocumented immigrant patients.