218198 Recognizing demographic shifts in rural Nebraska: Examining the increasing need for a culturally and linguistically competent health profession workforce to address the unmet needs of the Hispanic population

Monday, November 8, 2010

Sonja Russell, BS , College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
Patrik Johansson, MD, MPH , College of Public Health, University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, NE
Background: Hispanics experience health care disparities by means of poorer access to care, including linguistic and cultural barriers that may contribute to these disparities. Access to culturally competent health care services represents a cornerstone of social justice principles within the present context of health care reform. This study examines implications of the increasing rural Hispanic populations in Nebraska on the availability of culturally competent health care services.

Methods: We used data sets from the U.S. Census Bureau to analyze changes in population demographics between 2000 and 2007, and employed Microsoft Excel to calculate change in total population size and overall percent change in population for each of Nebraska's 93 counties during this time frame. Data from the University Nebraska Medical Center's Health Professions Tracking Service provided us with the numbers of practicing Hispanic, as well as Spanish speaking primary care providers in Nebraska.

Results: Findings reveal that from the year 2000 to 2007 there was a 33% increase among Hispanic populations in rural Nebraska counties, from 43,832 to 58,135 Hispanic individuals. As of January 2010, there are 793 practicing primary health care providers, 7 (0.88%) report being of Hispanic descent, and only 18 (2.27%) convey Spanish speaking ability.

Conclusion: The present shortage of Spanish speaking providers may contribute to health care disparities among Hispanics, which may be exacerbated over time as Hispanic populations continue to increase while the rural workforce becomes reduced. These findings underscore the need for interventions aimed at increasing the number of Hispanic/Spanish speaking primary care providers.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Program planning
Public health administration or related administration

Learning Objectives:
Articulate procedures used in assessing changes in population shifts over time for a specific geographic area. Explain the implications of changing population trends on health education program planning efforts. Describe the incerasing need for a culturally and linguistically competent health profession workforce in rural Nebraska.

Keywords: Cultural Competency, Access to Care

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: N/A

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present at APHA as I am currently a Masters of Public Health student at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Through my employment with the University's College of Public Health Rural Health Education Network I am actively involved in program planning, and outreach to an underserved rural populace.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.