Lost in Translation: Tackling the Barriers to Hispanic Good Health


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The significance of the growing Hispanic market to pharmaceutical companies cannot be overemphasized. Hispanics are the fastest-growing multicultural group in the United States. According to U.S. Census Bureau statistics, by 2035 there will be 75 million Hispanic individuals, comprising 20% of the population, and by 2050 Hispanics will constitute about a quarter of the population. (Incomes of Hispanics are growing 60% to 70% faster than the general population.)
But just as important are the disease disparities within Hispanic communities and the difficulty patients have accessing healthcare services and information that addresses their specific language and cultural needs. According to the National Council of La Raza’s Institute for Hispanic Health (IHH), Hispanics suffer a greater incidence of such diseases as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and breast and cervical cancers than other U.S. patient populations.
Moreover, traditionally Hispanics have been less likely to have access to health insurance. (Since 1998, Hispanic healthcare insurance coverage has increased 3%, more rapidly than for any other group.) The 1996 Welfare Reform Bill is another barrier to healthcare for recent immigrants. This law does not allow people who came to the United States after Aug. 22, 1996, to qualify for Medicaid for the first five years after entry into the country. Hispanics also lack access to adequate preventive medical care and public health-education materials…

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Experts on this Topic
Martin Barreto. President and CEO, Barreto & Brightwell Associates Inc., New York; Barreto & Brightwell is a PR and marketing communications firm specializing in the U.S. Hispanic and Latin American healthcare markets. For more information, contact
Tamara Burkett. Senior manager, multicultural marketing, U.S. Pharmaceuticals — RTP, GlaxoSmithKline, Research Triangle Park, N.C.; GlaxoSmithKline, with U.S. headquarters in Philadelphia, is a research-based pharmaceutical company. For more information, visit
Alejandra Cádiz-Gómez. Director, Hispanic marketing, BLH Consulting Inc., Atlanta; BLH Consulting is a full-service PR firm that specializes in developing and implementing marketing-communications programs that are culturally sensitive and relevant to African-American and Hispanic consumers. For more information, visit
Patricia Duquette, Ph.D. Associate director, Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation, New York; Bristol-Myers Squibb is a global pharmaceutical and healthcare company. For more information, visit
Elizabeth Elting. President and CEO, TransPerfect Translations, New York; TransPerfect provides translation, interpreting, multilanguage typesetting/graphic services, staffing solutions, Website globalization, software localization, subtitling, voice-overs, and multicultural marketing. For more information, visit
Michal Fishman. Director, U.S. pharmaceutical public relations, Pfizer Inc., New York; Pfizer is a global research-based pharmaceutical company. For more information, visit
Bernadette King. Product communications director, GlaxoSmithKline, Philadelphia; GlaxoSmithKline is a research-based pharmaceutical company. For more information, visit
Stephanie Mazzeo-Caputo. Senior VP, operations and administration, HealthEd, Westfield, N.J.; HealthEd is devoted to patient-centered health education and medical professional education. For more information, visit
Debbie Regiaba. Market development manager, media sales and marketing, Time Inc., New York; Time is one of the largest magazine publishers in the world. For more information, visit
Marcela Urrutia. Senior health policy analyst, the National Council of La Raza, Washington, D.C.; NCLR is a nonprofit,nonpartisan organization dedicated to reducing poverty and discrimination, and improving life opportunities for Hispanic Americans. For more information, visit
Dorothy Wetzel. VP consumer marketing group, Pfizer U.S. Pharmaceuticals, Pfizer Inc., New York; Pfizer is a global research-based pharmaceutical company. For more information, visit
Kevin Wildenhaus, Ph.D. Director of behavioral science and chief product architect, HealthMedia Inc., Ann Arbor, Mich.; HealthMedia blends behavioral science, tailoring technology, and creative marketing to produce programs for healthy lifestyle issues, diseases, and conditions. For more information, visit