Challenges in Health Care: Cultural and Structural Barriers to Care for Hispanic Children
Hispanics are both the largest and youngest major ethnic or racial minority in the United States, and the majority of the individuals in this group are the U.S.-born children of foreign-born parents. They have a distinct cultural identity and are socioeconomically disadvantaged compared to the general population of the United States. These factors present challenges to health care providers and policymakers. Cultural influences on beliefs and behaviors affect the health outcomes of Hispanic children by shaping the decisions that they and their parents make. Socioeconomic disadvantage makes access to health care more difficult for Hispanic children, especially in the United States, where the cost of health care is exceptionally high. As public policy makers work to increase the accessibility of health care, and medical professionals seek to emphasize cultural competence in their practice, understanding the peculiar challenges facing Hispanic children will assist in the formulation of more effective strategies for caring for this segment of the population. This thesis describes some of those challenges and assesses the efficacy of current and proposed solutions.