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Inova Health Systems Foundation

Inova will build on its established organizational goal of cultural competence by enhancing language access through the use of “Patient Navigators”, medical interpreters who ensure language needs are served along the access points in the health care system at several Inova facilities. In this role they will help identify specific areas where organizational changes are needed to make facilities more accessible to LEP Latinos. Inova will also work closely with its local Area Health Education Center (AHEC) to expand the training opportunities available for interpreters.

About the Organization

Inova Health System is a not-for-profit health care system based in Northern Virginia that consists of hospitals and other health services, including emergency and urgent care centers, home care, nursing homes, mental health and blood donor services, and wellness classes. Fairfax Hospital, a member of Inova Health System, is also a demonstration site for The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Urgent Matters program. Inova is governed by a voluntary board of community members.


Northern Virginia Area Health Education Center, Hispanic Committee of Virginia.

About the Service Area

Cities of Alexandria, Falls Church and Fairfax, as well as Arlington and Fairfax counties in Northern Virginia, and part of the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area.

Click here to view a map of their service area.

Existing Language Services

A community clinic and two hospitals will be the focus of the Hablamos Juntos project. As part of a community college teaching network, a community clinic employs a predominantly bilingual staff, and the facility is viewed as very Spanish-friendly among patients who turn to the clinic for care. The two hospitals in the network have Spanish-language signage and telephonic interpreting but a lower percentage of staff with Spanish-language capacity.

The Latino Population in the Service Area

Latinos in 1990: 97,980
Latinos in 2000: 201,840
% Increase: 106%
Total Population: 1,815,197

Significant and sustained Latino immigration into the project area began during the 1980’s, mostly from Central America, especially from El Salvador (due to its prolonged civil war). Immigration has continued during the 1990’s, resulting in an increase of more than double in the Latino population. In addition, the birth rate for Latina women, 23 births per 1,000 mean population, is the highest in the commonwealth of Virginia.

More than 30% of Latinos are under the age of 18, while the median age for Latinos in Northern Virginia is 27 (compared to 35 for the general population). While 94% of Latinos are employed either full or part-time, per capita income for Latinos ($16,950) is lower than for any other group, including African Americans ($23,648), Asians ($24,140) and whites ($40,025). However, the rate of home ownership of Latinos (45.6%) is comparable to that of all minority groups (49.8%). Foreign-born Latinos are three times more likely to live in poverty than Latinos born in the United States.

The most common reasons for hospitalization for Latinos include childbirth, asthma, appendectomy and pneumonia. Overall, the greatest demand for health services occurs in the areas of adult illness, reproductive services, child/family services and occupational health, for which demand has been steadily increasing. In general, Latinos are at greater risk for missing immunizations, late prenatal care, teen pregnancy, HIV/AIDS infection, diabetes, asthma and obesity than the general population.

Website: www.inova.org



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