Art for Hispanic Heritage Month
By Rebecca Roybal Jones

Hispanic Heritage Month

UNM Health Sciences Events Kick Off This Week

The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center will hold an opening ceremony to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month on Wednesday, Sept. 15.

Art for Hispanic Heritage MonthThe HSC Office for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) is organizing events – some in-person and some online ­– to honor Hispanic culture through mid-October, says John Paul Sánchez, MD, executive associate vice chancellor for DEI. This year’s theme is “Esperanza: A Celebration of Heritage and Hope.”

To sign up for the presentations and for more information, check out the Hispanic Heritage Month webpage.

The HSC campus, including with the College of Pharmacy, the College of Nursing, the College of Population Health and the School of Medicine and other programs and centers of excellence, have collaborated on this year’s events, Sánchez says.

“Everything was on Zoom last year,” Sánchez says. “This year, we're working towards having some events hybrid. But that might change depending on state and federal ordinances around public safety.”

The Inclusive Excellence Council, which was launched under DEI, aims to establish equitable representation throughout campus, he says.

A live event – Loteria (Bingo) – will be held on Friday, Sept. 17, in Domenici Center North Wing, Room 3710, from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

One of the events, “Language Equity Summit,” takes place Oct. 2. It will home in on the importance of speaking more than one language – particularly Spanish. It will also examine what the Health Sciences Center as an institution can do to encourage learning and retaining the language, Sánchez says.

“The whole notion of a language equity summit is how do we facilitate language concordance with our patients? And why does it matter?” he says. “Why does it matter to have health care providers, inclusive of social workers, nurses, physicians and other practitioners, be able to speak to patients in the language that they feel they're most comfortable speaking in and talking about their physical and mental well-being?

“And, how do we cultivate our learners . . . to retain that asset and build upon it, and not only learn their practice in English, but their practice in their communal language, or native language?”

Another presentation, “Traditional & Allopathic Healing of Stress & Anxiety in the Hispanic World During Times of COVID,” takes place on Sept. 24 from noon to 1 p.m.

“COVID has unveiled systemic racism and ethno-racism within our systems of care that perpetuate chronic disparities amongst communities of color, in particular,” Sánchez  says.

“We know that for the past two years now in individuals of indigenous identity, African American identity and Hispanic identity have faced higher infection rates and mortality secondary to COVID. And that's just been one of the many unique stressors that the Hispanic community and other communities have faced over the past year. So this session is really an opportunity to recognize and acknowledge those stressors, and also to remind our community members of resources to help them reduce their stress and anxiety.”

Other presentations will cover topics of mental health and well-being, COVID in Hispanic communities, recruitment and retention of Hispanic students in medical school as well as professionals in leadership roles, and a ceremony recognizing Hispanic trailblazers.

Categories: Community Engagement, Diversity, Top Stories