Fifteen participants from California counties will be heading to Mexico City on April 8 to learn about Mexicoâ€™s health-care system while being immersed in Mexican culture. Through the â€œInformative Health Journeys Programâ€? cosponsored by the California-Mexico Health Initiative (CMHI), the Mexican Ministry of Health, and the program for Mexican Communities Abroad of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, California health-care providers will learn to better serve the Mexican immigrant community.
Participants represent local health, outreach, and education programs in Alameda, Contra Costa, Los Angeles, Monterey, San Diego, San Francisco, Sonoma, and Tulare, as well as state Department of Health Services staff. Sponsored by CMHI, a program of the University of California, they will take guided hospital visits and attend several conferences, over four days, with high-level Mexican officials in the Ministry of Health, Foreign Affairs, and the Social Security Institute. Conference themes include: U.S. â€“ Mexico migration, immigrant health, border health, and Mexicoâ€™s health insurance programs for workers with families in Mexico.
California is home to over 8.45 million people of Mexican descent, 3.7 million of whom were born in Mexico. Though the Mexican-origin population amounts to one-quarter of the state population, its access to health care is disproportionately low. Recent studies have demonstrated that California Latinos (over 75 percent of whom are of Mexican origin) are more than twice as likely to be uninsured as non-Latinos and that 70 percent of Latinos have unmet dental needs.
A study conducted by the California Institute for Rural Studies demonstrated that the Stateâ€™s 1.3 million agricultural workers- 91 percent of whom were born in Mexico- fare no better. One-third of the men surveyed said they had never seen a doctor or gone to a health clinic in their lives. The vast majority is uninsured.
The Mexican-origin population faces cultural and linguistic barriers that reduce their access to care. Only 4.8 percent of Californiaâ€™s physicians are Latino, impeding the good communication vital for the accurate and timely diagnosis and treatment of illness. Additionally, the U.S. health-care system itself is foreign to many immigrants.
Diana Diaz , (510) 643-4089, Diana.email@example.com
Rosario Alberro, (510) 643-1290 firstname.lastname@example.org