Paulina SosaToday’s guest blogger is Paulina Sosa, vice president of APHA’s Latino Caucus, chair of its Latinx COVID-19 Task Force and founder of the Latinx Voces en Salud Campaign. She is assistant editor of APHA’s American Journal of Public Health and public affairs coordinator for APHA’s COVID-19 response.  

COVID-19 has highlighted a number of health disparities and inequities faced by Latinx communities. They are one of the most vulnerable populations throughout the U.S. because of:

  • higher uninsured rates; 
  • a higher percentage working in “essential services,” including the meatpacking, farming and service industries; 
  • poor access to personal protective equipment; 
  • inability to social distance at home; 
  • lack of accurate and bilingual information and resources; and
  • fear of accessing testing or health care services. 

The large gaps in access to health information and health care felt by these communities stem from immigration status, stigmatization, income inequalities, language barriers and even cultural stigmas. 

In response to these issues, APHA’s Latino Caucus is collaborating with the Latinx Voces en Salud Campaign, which has launched the collaborative national Latinx COVID-19 Task Force to reach out to communities in need with information they can use. Latinx COVID-19 Task Force Objectives

The task force’s mission is to strategically connect Latinx and Hispanic-serving organizations with authoritative public health information resources so that they can share lifesaving information related to COVID-19.

The task force is leveraging information for Latinx families through multiple forms of communication, including social media, broadcast and print media, phone and mail. One of its six working groups is collecting data on Latinx needs, gaps and unanswered questions to develop steps for public health interventions and policies on the ground. 

The task force has over 30 local, state and national partners across the country doing powerful, life-changing work in their communities. They include Alianza Americas, the American Medical Association Center for Health Equity, Centro de los Derechos del Migrante Inc., Dia de la Mujer Latina, El Centro Regional Medical Center, the National Public Health Information Coalition, Salud America and Su Clinica.

The ideas, strategies and next steps coming from the Latinx COVID-19 Task Force are based on the passionate desire to help “nuestra comunidad” — our community. 

This is something that has been needed for years and, even after this pandemic passes, we aspire to remain a collective unit. We hope to address the many different needs faced by our Latinx community and others that do not have equitable access to public health and the vital information that supports it.

With that said, I personally and professionally want to say thank you to our COVID-19 heroes that are directly working with families and communities on the ground. Together we are stronger. “Somos mas fuertes juntos!”

To learn more about ways to get involved, email me or share your interest through this form

And listen to The Nation's Health Podcast featuring Amelie Ramirez, DrPH, and Rosalie Aguilar, MS, from partner organization Salud America as they discuss Latinx health disparities and inequities in the U.S. Listen on The Nation's Health website or Spotify, or read the transcript.