About the Organization
En Español is a new nonprofit organization
(2002) founded by a Latino philanthropist to improve access to
health care for Latino residents in the Greater Birmingham region.
Its mission is to bridge the gap between health care providers
and the Latino community.
Children’s Health System, Public Health
Area V, Cooper Green Hospital, Birmingham Health Care, St. Vincent’s
Hospital, The Valencia Group, Baptist Health System, Central Alabama
Alliance for Latino Health.
About the Service Area
The grant will serve the Greater Birmingham area,
which includes Jefferson, Blounty, Shelby, and St. Clair counties.
here to view a map of their service area.
Existing Language Services
Most of En Español’s partners utilize
bilingual staff to assist patients with language needs, though
few interpreters have been formally tested for language or interpreting
ability; usually language ability is assessed via bilingual conversation
with a supervisor. Most health care providers acknowledge that
current language services are insufficient, and more is needed.
A relatively low unemployment rate (3.1%) and
strong economy is among many attributes of Birmingham that have
attracted newcomers. The most common employment options are in
the poultry/agricultural industry, construction, and service sector.
Because of the nature of the available jobs, men are more likely
to find work than women. Many jobs are physically demanding and
may impact the services requested as more Latinos join the work
force. Additional health needs, determined through focus groups
and surveys, include reproductive services and treatment for respiratory
illness, both of which can be expected in a relatively young population.
One indicator of the growth in the Latino population
is found in the increased number of visits to health care facilities,
which increased from 44 in 1994 to over 13,000 in the year 2000.
Most immigrants are originally from Mexico, with Colombians, Venezuelans,
and Guatemalans also represented. Males are over-represented, as
they often immigrate to secure employment and housing before sending
for their families. The average age of Latinos in the Birmingham
area is 27.6, and the majority of adults are married, with an average
family having two children. Once in Birmingham, Latinos tend to
stay. Home-ownership is on the rise, and the high-school drop out
rate is decreasing.
The Latino Population in the Service Area
Latinos in 1990: 3,765
Latinos in 2000: 16,598
% Increase: 441%
Total Population: 921,106
En Español will use its health access,
training and mentoring programs to test new methods for meeting
the health care needs of the area’s Latino population. Specifically,
En Español will train medical interpreters and provide communication
case management services through a network of interpreters and
translators. The goal of these activities is to foster organizational
change in the environment of the seven medical partners serving
as providers in the project. In addition, En Español will
facilitate greater understanding between patients and providers
by establishing a series of health literacy classes that will include
English lessons for the community, Spanish lessons for area providers
and conversational Spanish courses focused on health topics for
high school students.
In the News
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Awards En Español $850,000
October 24, 2003 - the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
awards $850,000 to En Español to begin implementing its
three-pronged strategy for improving communication between health
care providers and those who speak English as a second language.
HERE TO READ THE BIRMINGHAM BUSINESS JOURNAL ARTICLE
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