The Healthcare Foundation Northern Sonoma County and Sonoma County are encouraging bilingual students to pursue health care careers to address a shortage in the industry.
The need for bilingual health care providers is critical, given that miscommunication when speaking to health providers can occur. Many Latino families reside in Sonoma County, and bilingual health professionals are needed to clearly explain and help individuals with questions, according to a North Bay Business Journal article.
For example, Alliance Medical Center has five therapists, four whom are bilingual and the office sees up to 12 patients a day, but there are only two psychiatrists and only one is being fully bilingual, meaning the wait time to see a psychiatrist could be months long for some patients, the article said.
Additionally, the article noted many Latinos who are in the country illegally are reticent to give personal information to health care providers. Seeing a Spanish-speaking doctor who understands their culture helps these people, according to Colleen Carmichael, executive director of Reach.
It is hoped that the efforts being made by a number of health foundations will yield results in bilingual health professionals.