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LaRED TIG Week: Becoming Culturally Responsive During COVID-19 Era by Diana Lemos

(Spanish version)

Diana Lemos
Diana Lemos

Hello fellow evaluators! I am Diana Lemos from the Center for Health Equity at the American Medical Association in Chicago, IL. Our nation’s approach to the COVID-19 epidemic has left us with many important lessons and difficult learnings. At the Center, we built an ongoing repository of health equity-focused resources to identify and shed a light on the inequitable impact on marginalized and minoritized communities, including the Latinx community, in the US. Here are some early insights about becoming Latinx responsive during these times.

Hot Tips:

  1. Recognize, respect, and use appropriate terms of identification that the Latinx community prefers and understands.
    • Depending on geographic upbringing, age or generational status, some Latinx community members prefer Hispanic, whereas others prefer Latino/a and a growing number prefer the more inclusive term Latinx.
    • Recognize others prefer to identify based on ethnic or national origin (Mexican, Puerto Rican, Brazilian, etc.).
  2. Acknowledge and understand the inequities that exist through the COVID-19 continuum.
    • Testing:
      • Community-driven testing initiatives have revealed high rates of positivity, often in the double digits (20-40%), in the Latinx community as compared to much lower positivity rates in other non-Latinx communities (<5% positive).
      • High rates of positivity also suggest that there is an undercount of the true extent of infections in Latinx communities.
    • Confirmed Cases:
      • As of August 13th, Latinx individuals account for 31% of cases nationwide despite only representing 18.5% of the national population.
      • More concerning is that amongst those <18 years of age, Latinx children and youth account for 44% of infections.
    • Hospitalizations:
      • A CDC recent study revealed a higher hospitalization rate for Latinx children of about 16.4 per 100,000 compared to white children at 2.1 per 100,000.
    • Fatalities:
      • Nationwide, Latinx Americans are 2.8 times more likely to have died than Whites, when age is considered.
  3. Address the systemic and institutional challenges to becoming Latinx responsive in the COVID-19 response.
    • Structural racism including anti-immigrant rhetoric, restrictive access to affordable testing and treatment as well as blaming the Latinx community for increased rates of infection only serve as deterrents to curbing the epidemic.
    • Dearth of timely, reliable, complete, and useful racial/ethnic data has resulted in inadequate testing and outreach to Latinx communities.
  4. Combat the invisibility of the Latinx community in the US.
    • Ensure Latinx responsive culturally relevant messaging and supports are delivered in both English and Spanish and are inclusive of the diversity within the Latinx community.
    • Reject the otherness of Latinx community and recognize that the majority of Latinx individuals are bilingual, bicultural and U.S. born.
    • Raise awareness about the inequitable toll of the epidemic on the Latinx community due to systemic racism, structural barriers including lack of healthcare coverage and overrepresentation in the low-wage essential workforce.

Rad Resources:

  1. https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/health-equity/ama-and-center-health-equity-resources-covid-19
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/covid-data-tracker/index.html#demographics
  3. Latinos in the time of COVID Unidos US
  4. https://covidtracking.com/race/dashboard
  5. https://www.apmresearchlab.org/covid/deaths-by-race
  6. COVIDguia.org

Take action: Join the Latinx COVID-19 Task Force: http://www.publichealthnewswire.org/?p=latinx-covid19-task-force

The American Evaluation Association is celebrating Latinx Responsive Evaluation Discourse TIG Week. The contributions all this week to aea365 come from LA RED Topical Interest Group members. Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to aea365@eval.org. aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.

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