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Wolf Administration Addresses Health Equity at PA Latino Health Summit

Apr 23, 2019
Public Health

York, PA – Representatives from the Wolf Administration joined the Governor’s Advisory Commission on Latino Affairs (GACLA), Latino Connection, and City of York to highlight health care needs of Latino communities in Pennsylvania and promote equal access to health care at the 2nd Annual Latino Health Summit.

“Communities around Pennsylvania have unique and varying health challenges, and we must stay engaged and responsive to evolving needs,” said Department of Human Services Secretary Teresa Miller. “Our goal is to empower all Pennsylvanians to live fulfilling lives and build stronger communities. The collaboration and discussion at this summit can help us share best practices and concerns so we can all better serve the Latino community.”

Hosted by the GACLA and Latino Connection, the event brought together health care executives, health care providers, and public health professionals in recognition of Minority Health Month. Participants shared experiences, challenges, and initiatives to shine a light on issues that affect nearly one million Pennsylvanians.

“It’s important to represent Pennsylvania’s seniors at opportunities like today’s summit because our state’s entire population is so diverse,” said Acting Secretary Torres. “This gives us a space to discuss issues impacting older adults in Pennsylvania’s Latino community and make sure they have a voice at the table when it comes to their health care.”

Secretary Miller and Acting Secretary Torres participated in Cafecito con los Secretarios, a panel addressing health equity for the Latino population. The secretaries highlighted the Wolf Administration’s work to improve whole-person focused healthcare across the commonwealth.

The Wolf Administration is committed to improving access to comprehensive, whole-person health care, addressing social determinants of health, and ensuring equal access to culturally-competent care for minority communities. Initiatives for the Latino community include:

  • Forming a partnership with GACLA to address the immediate mental health needs of families that have relocated because of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
  • Supporting children relocated following Hurricanes Irma and Maria with in-school mental health supports through an emergency response grant DHS’ Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (OMHSAS) received from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
  • Developing a long-term plan to determine how to best engage Latinos in addressing the behavioral health needs of the population by remaining cognizant of cultural barriers, language barriers, and stigma within the Latino community around behavioral health/mental health in partnership with GACLA.
  • Requiring all managed care organizations (MCOs) to complete cultural competency training and provide resources for staff to address any racial, ethnic, linguistic, gender, sexual orientation, and cultural differences.
  • Encouraging all MCOs to attend events hosted by Latino organizations to provide services like health screenings, educational materials, or member incentives to people who attend these events.
  • Ensuring all materials distributed by DHS’ MCOs are available in Spanish, among other non-English languages.
  • Emphasizing the importance of cultural competency in whole-person health and wellness.

For more information on the Department of Human Services, visit www.dhs.pa.gov.

To learn more about the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, visit www.aging.pa.gov.

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