The health and well-being of some populations in the United States are not adequately addressed, and some communities suffer from substantial disparities. As a result, the members of these communities have worse health outcomes when compared to other communities. The population of Latino women in the United States suffers from worse healthcare outcomes in physical and mental health domains. This paper will provide the statistics for Latino women’s various healthcare issues and some strategies and resources for addressing these.
Description of the Underserved Population
The Healthy People initiative describes a health disparity as a case when “a health outcome is seen to a greater or lesser extent between populations” (ODPHP, n.d., para. 1). One of the populations in the United States is Latina women. For example, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and cancer are the top three health-related causes of mortality for women who live in the United States (APA, n.d.). Cancer is the leading cause of mortality in Latinas aged 25 to 54 years. Latina women had a cancer death rate of 298 per 100,000 (Chandler et al., 2021). In comparison, Black women have a mortality rate of 180.6 and 155 for Whites (Chandler et al., 2021). Hence, cancer is a serious healthcare concern for Latina women creating a health disparity for this population.
Breast cancer, in general, is one of the top causes of death for women, but the Latina population has been affected by this condition the most. Breast cancer is the most frequent disease among women, but it is also the top cause of cancer-related fatalities among Latinas (Chandler et al., 2021). Despite the efforts of the government to make healthcare services high-quality and accessible to all, the health disparities that affect the Latino population continue to exist, which is why I believe that breast cancer is a severe healthcare disparity for the population of Latina women.
Moreover, this population also suffers from mental health problems at a concerning rate compared to other ethnicities. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health, one in every five Latinx persons has a mental illness, making culturally appropriate outreach and treatment a critical concern (APA, n.d.). When compared to Latinx males, white populations, or African-American communities, Latinx women are twice as likely to suffer depression.
Cultural, Economic, and Legal Factors
Based on this data, one can make conclusions about the cultural, political, and socioeconomic factors that cause this healthcare disparity. For example, the cultural barrier can include language, as not all immigrants from Latin America speak English and can seek help from a health professional. Approximately half of all Latinos self-report speaking English less than very well, classifying them as persons with poor English competence (Chandler et al., 2021). Compared to Latino children from English-speaking homes, children of Latino parents with LEP have disproportionately low access to primary care and excellent health care.
From a socioeconomic viewpoint, Latina women who live in disadvantaged communities have low income, and either do not have health insurance and the ability to pay for services or cannot access hospitals that provide screening services as these are not available near the neighborhoods they reside in. Latina women are more likely than non-Latina women to be uninsured (Chandler et al., 2021). Moreover, the political intolerance towards immigrants does not allow the women who recently immigrated to receive healthcare services.
Policies toward raising awareness about cancer and the importance of regular screening are also essential factors impacting this population. A cervical cancer prevention study discovered that Latinas had little understanding of what causes cervical cancer and would seek screening only if they were having symptoms (Chandler et al., 2021). Furthermore, Latinas cited challenges such as “fear of results, the shame of being touched, access to health care, and language problems” as reasons for not getting frequent tests (Chandler et al., 2021, p. 10). Preventive education should be improved and broadened to include guys, as the incidence of cervical cancer is connected with male sexual activity.
As awareness is one of the main factors that does not allow Latinx women to reach out for early screenings and healthcare services, the interventions should target this problem. Studies on minority populations have found that there are discrepancies in particular regions where Blacks and Latinos report poorer health than Whites and Asians (Chandler et al., 2021). Despite being the most likely to engage in enough physical exercise and eat recommended foods, this population have a worse overall health-related quality of life. Other aspects must contribute to the total health-related quality of life score, in addition to excellent physical exercise and a nutritious diet. All three categories were well-insured and reported frequent access to healthcare services, but they did not reach the optimum physical activity and fruit and vegetable intake standards.
Support Groups and Resources
As with many health disparities, there are some support groups and resources that can help Latinx women in addressing their health disparities. However, the main issue with these resources is raising awareness about them that would allow these women to access these services. Increased screening rates in uninsured, low-income, and minority communities may be due in part to programs promoting screening in disadvantaged populations. The National Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program, for example, aims to reduce screening inequities among low-income, uninsured, and minority communities (Chandler et al., 2021). This is one of the resources that allow women to receive the help they need in terms of cancer screenings.
Nursing interventions for Latinx women include the education of patients and the promotion of health and well-being. These interventions would target the patient’s knowledge about health disparities and their ability to reach out for help. As for the interventions that could help reduce the number of cases when Latina women are diagnosed with cancer at late stages, it is essential to review the causes for such issues in the first place. According to Chandler et al. (2021), Latinas are less likely than white women to have routine mammograms and pap tests. This lack of screening explains why Latinos have a greater death rate from breast and cervical malignancies when compared to other populations.
Moreover, the lack of screening for cancer among the Latina population is also a concern with other types of cancer as well, which requires collaboration with oncology teams. Cervical cancer is more frequent in some ethnic groups, notably Latina women. Cervical cancer screening rates among Latinas are much lower than those of other ethnicities (Chandler et al., 2021). Mammography screening has been shown to reduce breast cancer mortality, and mammography screening has grown in the United States, which nurses and oncology specialists should emphasize (Chandler et al., 2021). However, women who are uninsured, immigrants, or those who do not have a regular source of health care do not undergo regular screenings (Chandler et al., 2021). Hence, nurses and team members from oncology units should ensure that these women undergo regular screenings as part of the nursing intervention for this population.
Based on the findings in this paper, it is evident that Latino women face substantial health disparities that have to be addressed at a community level. First and foremost, raising awareness about the statistics on cancer and prevention methods is the best option for ensuring that these women become aware of the problem. Secondly, creating support groups and interventions for this community that would address their specific needs, such as culturally aware care services and helps in receiving help for people who do not speak English, is essential. Technological advancements have resulted in a flood of innovative digital and mobile health (mHealth) initiatives that have shown significant promise in decreasing health inequities. Text messaging, phone counseling, the internet, social media, and mobile applications are examples of mHealth modalities that have gained popularity among public health academics in addressing public health outcomes among target groups (Anderson-Lewis et al., 2018). End-users benefit from various unique benefits provided by digital health platforms, such as increased anonymity, which allows users to feel more comfortable disclosing sensitive information about SRH and high-risk behaviors; this can assist the study of delicate themes.
For low-literacy communities, in particular, mHealth provides distinct advantages through the use of readily discernible audio and graphic components, as well as interactive aspects that users can engage with (Chandler et al., 2021). Despite the apparent benefits of mHealth, there has been a dearth of mHealth treatments intended particularly for Black and Latina women in the United States. The development and complexity of mobile technology for women have trailed far behind that of mobile technology and research for other demographics. More study generating robust data on mHealth technology designs that explicitly target Black and Latina women’s SRH is urgently needed.
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Anderson-Lewis, C., Darville, G., Mercado, R. E., Howell, S., Di Maggio, S. (2018). mHealth technology use and implications in historically underserved and minority populations in the united states: Systematic literature review. JMIR MHealth and UHealth, 6(6), e128.
Chandler, R., Guillaume, D., Parker, A., Wells, J., & Hernandez, N. D. (2021). Developing culturally tailored mHealth tools to address sexual and reproductive health outcomes among black and Latina women: A systematic review. Health Promotion Practice, 1-10.
Office for Disease Prevention and Health Promotion [ODPHP]. (n.d.). Disparities. Web.