• Welcome to NHMA

    Established in 1994 in Washington, DC, the National Hispanic Medical Association is a non-profit association representing the interests of 50,000 licensed Hispanic physicians in the United States. NHMA is dedicated to empowering Hispanic physicians to be leaders who will help eliminate health disparities and improve the health of Hispanics. NHMA's vision is to be the national leader to improve the health of Hispanic populations.
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  • NHMA 22nd Annual Conference

    Gaylord National Harbor Hotel, Washington, DC area - May 4-7, 2017: We also invite government agencies, health industry, corporate and non profit health experts to becoming a Sponsor and to provide a Career Exhibit for our health professionals and students and medical residents.
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  • National Hispanic Health Foundation

    The National Hispanic Health Foundation (NHHF), a 501c3 organization, was established in 1994 as the philanthropic branch of the National Hispanic Medical Association. The mission of NHHF is to improve the health of Hispanics and other underserved.
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  • NHMA Featured

NEWSLETTER

Monthly NHMA Newsletter submitted by Dr. Elena Rios

22nd ANNUAL CONFERENCE

Join us and register today!              

MEMBERSHIP

Have a Voice. Make an Impact. We Invite you to become a member.

Help Victims in Puerto Rico and  Mexico

Hurricane Maria and Earthquake have brought devastating destruction to Puerto Rico and Mexico. As an organization based on helping the Hispanic community, we ask that our members look at some of the following ways to help the victims of these tragedies. 

EVENTS

 

October 2017
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PUBLICATIONS

Consensus Summit on Building Diversity in Medicine and Research Report

As a part of an ongoing commitment to promote health care equity and quality, the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) convened a meeting of national experts to the Consensus Summit on Building Diversity in Medicine and Research, on January 29, 2015 at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland.  National leaders for underrepresented populations in science and medicine discussed their best ideas and practices for improving representation; established recommendations, and formulated a direction and consensus statements, with the aim to build diversity in medicine and research in the U.S. not sure about the wording:  Link here to the Summit Final Report.

Read Full Report

NHMA White Paper: NHMA Produced a white paper entitled: “An Examination of Minority Populations and the Dental Service Organization Model in the US," which examines dental access among minority & low -income populations.

Read full report.

For More Publications: Click Here

PARTNERS

                                        

 

 

          

 

WHAT'S NEW AT NHMA

Introducing the NHMA Endorsed Employee Benefits Program: NHMA is excited to respond to the needs of its member physicians and supporters by offering our new NHMA Endorsed Employee Benefits Program.  The program offers access to quality health plans and valuable supplemental insurance and business products for NHMA physicians, members and their staff. Click here for more information. 

NHMA's "CALL TO ACTION" against GOP Health Care Bill to Repeal  : This week, the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson Bill was introduced in the Senate as a last effort to Repeal the ACA this year. NHMA is not in favor of this bill.  NHMA advocates for health reform that includes access to affordable healthcare insurance for all and Medicaid expansion and subsidies and cost sharing for insurance plans. We must move forward to improve health reform policy that includes Essential Beneifits, health care professional diversity, leadership development and the support for the Offices of Minority Health at the US HHS agencies. Go to Government Affairs for Call to Action for more details and to Call your Senator TODAY.

NHMA Conference - Mar. 22-25, 2018, Washington, DC  - We are seeking Speakers Abstracts - till Sept. 30th; Sponsors; Exhibitors to Share Career Opportunities for physicians and health professionals; and Loan Repayment programs, Masters programs for policy, public health, business for medical students; Financial planning and Technology for physicians and medical students.  See Conference page on this website.

Research Training Programs - NHHF PCORI Program - seeking Jr Faculty Mentees and Sr Faculty Mentors - includes webinars and 2 day training at NHMA Conference on Mar. 21-22

                                                    NIDDK Program seeking Residents for one day training at NHMA Conference on Mar. 22

NHMA College Scholars Program - Conferences for College PreHealth Students - Los Angeles (TBD), San Antonio (TBD), Washington, DC (Mar. 24, 2018) - We are seeking Mentors - medical, nursing, public health, dental students who will meet at least once per month with a college student.

NHMA Medical School Liaison Program - We are seeking NHMA members to meet with medical students 3 times during the academic year.

For programs above - send an email to NHMA@NHMAmd.org

TWITTER

Sounding the Alarm: Influenza and Pneumococcal Disease Immunization Rates Are Low Among Hispanic Adults

By Elena V. Rios, MD, MSPH and Susan Rehm, MD

Efforts to protect Hispanic adults from serious vaccine preventable diseases are falling short. Hispanic adults, who comprise nearly 16% of the U.S. population, have among the lowest vaccination rates, leaving them vulnerable to the devastating and potentially deadly effects of influenza and pneumococcal disease, among others. [1,2]

The time to act is now. As health care reform continues to be debated by lawmakers, we need to support efforts to prioritize wellness and prevention services, including vaccination. One way to meet this challenge is to renew efforts with the patients we come into contact every day to ensure each and every patient who needs life-saving vaccinations gets them.

Numerous surveys and studies have shown that a doctor’s recommendation for vaccination is a leading motivator for patients to receive a vaccine, so we are uniquely poised to make a difference, especially given Hispanics’ respect for health care providers. This is especially true for Hispanic medical professionals who share common cultural experiences, language and values with their Hispanic patients. To make headway, we must integrate approaches to promote vaccination across our practice settings, and also find ways to extend our efforts beyond our clinic walls and engage the larger Hispanic community.

The devastating toll of flu and pneumococcal disease

Influenza and pneumococcal disease can hit fast and furiously. Tens of thousands of American adults – many of them Hispanic – suffer permanent disability or die from these vaccine-preventable illnesses every year. [3] Together, influenza and pneumonia are the 8th leading cause of death in the U.S. [4]

Influenza causes more than 200,000 hospitalizations and up to about 50,000 deaths in the U.S. every year depending on the characteristics of circulating strains and the population’s level of immunity. [5] Flu can lead to complications including pneumonia, bronchitis, sinusitis and ear infections, and it can worsen chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes.

Pneumococcal disease is a common complication of influenza, but it also occurs on its own year-round. Pneumococcal bacteria (Streptococcus pneumoniae, also known as pneumococci) can strike quickly, with infection sometimes progressing to death within hours. The bacteria are a major cause of the more than 900,000 annual cases of community-acquired pneumonia (CAP) in Americans 65 and older. [4] Pneumococcal bacteremia and meningitis (invasive pneumococcal infections) are less common than pneumococcal pneumonia, but have very high fatality rates--30% for meningitis and 20% for bacteremia compared with 5% to 7% for pneumonia. [6-8]

The Hispanic population has a higher prevalence of chronic medical problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain cancers, compared with non-Hispanic whites. Chronic conditions increase the risk of complications from influenza and pneumococcal disease. At the same time, these infections can exacerbate underlying medical conditions and make them harder to manage. Patients with diabetes, for example, face a higher risk of influenza and its complications, and having influenza can actually interfere with blood sugar control. [9] There is also growing evidence that both pneumococcal disease and influenza can trigger heart attacks and related deaths. [10, 11] 

Vaccines effective, but underused

The best way to prevent influenza and pneumococcal disease is through timely vaccination. Yet far too many Hispanics remain unprotected, and the statistics are sobering.

During the last influenza season, 22% of Hispanic adults 19 and older received influenza vaccine, a rate far lower than the nationwide average of 34% and 37% among non-Hispanic whites. The gap is even more pronounced for the pneumococcal vaccine. Only 40%of Hispanics over 65 have received a pneumococcal vaccine, compared to 61% among all those over 65 and 65% among non-Hispanic whites over 65. Among those 19 to 64 years of age who are deemed at high risk for severe illness, only 12% of Hispanics were protected compared to 18% of African Americans and 18% of whites.[2]

Yet these vaccines can save lives and considerable suffering, as well as dollars spent on disease-related expenses. A yearly flu vaccination is recommended by the CDC for everyone6 months and older. Influenza vaccines are 70% to 90% effective in preventing infection in healthy young adults. [12]

Pneumococcal vaccination is recommended for everyone 65 years and older and for adults 19 to 64 who smoke or have asthma, chronic heart, liver, kidney or lung disease, diabetes, or immunocompromising conditions. [13] Most adults will need the pneumococcal vaccine only once; one dose of the pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23) protects against approximately 50% to 80% of all invasive pneumococcal disease in adults.

Stepping Up Vaccination Efforts

By being vigilant and providing linguistically and culturally appropriate care, we can be part of the solution to prevent unnecessary suffering and save lives.

But to boost vaccination rates, we must first get patients into the office. Hispanics face challenges accessing the health system for a variety of reasons. When they see a doctor or go to the clinic, they rarely talk with their providers about prevention. For this reason, whenever these patients are in the office, we should educate them about the serious medical risks associated with flu and pneumococcal disease, offer vaccination and reinforce the long safety record of these vaccines.

Missed opportunities to vaccinate are a big part of the problem. Making every encounter a potential vaccination visit is one of the best ways to heighten awareness among adults and increase immunization rates. Cardiologists, endocrinologists, oncologists, pulmonologists, and other specialists should also routinely encourage vaccination for at-risk patients.

Bilingual educational materials like waiting room posters or handouts should be available. NFID has an array of free educational materials and tools available in English and Spanish (www.adultvaccination.org) to help us educate patients about adult immunization. Reminder/ recall systems such as postcards and telephone calls every year before the onset of flu season can help. Electronic medical record (EMR) systems and chart reminders can also help us to flag vulnerable patients, stay on top of vaccination histories and encourage ongoing delivery of preventive services. Standing orders and immunization registries can also be used to support our efforts.

Each of has limited time, but relaying prevention messages within the Hispanic community through traditional gathering places and educating families can go a long way to increasing awareness and inspiring action. Of course, we should heed our own advice by getting vaccinated ourselves as appropriate. In doing so, we can help protect ourselves, our families, and our patients from serious illness.

Elena Rios, MD, president & CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association, (NHMA), representing Hispanic physicians in the United States.

Susan J. Rehm, MD is a staff physician at the Cleveland Clinic and is Vice Chair of the Clinic’s Department of Infectious Disease. She also serves as medical director for the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases and co-chair of NFID’s Pneumococcal Disease Advisory Board.

 

References

1. US Census Bureau, 2009. http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/00000.html. Accessed January 10, 2011.

2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Health Interview Survey, 2009. http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nhis.htm. Accessed January 10, 2011.

3.Vaccine Preventable Diseases & Infections. AdultVaccination.org.Available at: http://www.adultvaccination.com/vaccine_preventable_disease_infection_vaccination_immunization.htm. Accessed January10, 2011.

4. Xu JQ, Kochanek KD, Murphy SL, et al. Deaths: Final data for 2007. National vital statistics reports; vol 58 no 19. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2010. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/NCHS/data/nvsr/nvsr58/nvsr58_19.pdf. Accessed December 1, 2010.

5.CDC. Seasonal influenza. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/disease.htm.   Accessed December 17, 2010.

6. Tsai JC, Griffin MR, Nuorti JP, Grijalva CG. Changing epidemiology of pneumococcal meningitis after the introduction of pneumococcal conjugate vaccine in the United States. Clin Infect Dis. 2008;46:1664-1672.

7. World Health Organization. 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine: WHO position paper. Wkly Epidemiol Rec. 2008;83:373-384.

8.Atkinson W, Wolfe S, Hamborsky J and McIntyre L, eds. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: The Pink Book. Epidemiology and Prevention of Vaccine-Preventable Diseases. 11th ed. Chapter 15: Pneumococcal Disease. CDC. 2009 May; 217-230.

9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s National Influenza Vaccination Week – The Flu Ends With U.  http://www.cdc.gov/flu/pdf/nivw/NIVW_kickoff_112210.pdf.  Accessed December 2010.

10. Warren-Gash C, Smeeth L, Hayward AC. Influenza as a trigger for acute myocardial infarction or death from cardiovascular disease: a systematic review. Lancet Infect Dis. 2009;9:601-610.

11. Pneumococcal disease: A red flag in heart disease management, Cardiology Today. Nov 21 2010. Available at http://www.cardiologytoday.com/view.aspx?rid=77164. Accessed January 11, 2011.

12. CDC. What’s new about the flu vaccine for the 2010-11 flu season? Available at http://www.cdc.gov/flu/protect/vaccine/fluvax_whatsnew.htm. Accessed December 22, 2010.

13. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Updated recommendations for prevention of invasive pneumococcal disease among adults using the 23-valent pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV23). MMWR. 2010;59:1102-1106.

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