Hispanic Heritage Month: Celebration and Reflection

From Jeri Weeks, CEO of Neighborhood Health Center

Next week marks the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 – October 15. This month-long celebration honors the cultures, histories, and diversity of the Hispanic and Latino community.

Two Hispanic clinic staff members in masks stand behind a computer looking at the screen.At Neighborhood Health Center (NHC), we are very proud to serve the Portland Metro Hispanic community — as a healthcare provider, employer of choice, and community partner to valuable community organizations like the Oregon Latino Health Coalition and Latino Network. We work to honor the unique needs, circumstances, and culture of our Latinx patients. 31% of our patients identify as Hispanic/Latino/Latina and that number is growing.

We have a long-standing goal to hire and retain staff that reflects our multicultural patient population. Our Latinx and Hispanic staff members’ knowledge and insight allow us to improve our standards, policies, and practices so that our we can provide safe, supportive, and patient-centered healthcare to the Latinx community.

We celebrate our staff members’ cultures, identities, and accomplishments and are deeply grateful to the amazing work they do supporting our Hispanic and Latinx patients.  Part of that recognition is providing a pay differential for multilingual staff. The skills of these staff members is critical to our work as language is a major barrier for many who seek to access healthcare and public services.

As we celebrate the diversity of our community, we also take this month to focus on how we can better serve our Hispanic patients.

Increased health equity for Latinx populations supports Latino voices and strengthens families while allowing culture, innovation, and collaboration to thrive in our shared community. NHC leadership and staff work consistently to improve our systems and services to better meet our patients’ unique needs, like offering additional resources and support for our Hispanic/Latinx patients. We continue to prioritize those underserved by the nation’s healthcare system, including migrant farm workers and Latinx LGBTQ+ communities.

We encourage you to learn more about the care we offer and the resources we provide. Thank you for being part of the NHC community, and happy Hispanic Heritage Month!