A new UCLA study finds even though Latinos are the fastest growing ethnic group in the nation, the rate of Latino doctors as compared to the population has steadily declined in recent years.
In 1980, there were 135 Latino physicians for every 100,000 Latinos, but by 2010 the number had dropped to 105 for every 100,000, a 22 percent decline.
While for non-Hispanic white patients there are 315 per 100,000 up from 211 in 1980, a 49 percent rise.
“There is a shortage of health care professionals that, at minimum, have the language skills to communicate effectively with patients, provide quality care and avoid harmful outcomes for a growing majority of patients not only in California but in the nation as a whole,” said Dr. Gloria Sanchez, the study’s lead author and an associate clinical professor of family medicine at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
The study drew U.S. Census data from 1980 to 2010 in five states, California, Florida, Illinois, New York and Texas, who have some of the largest Latino populations. Researchers found similar declines in the rates of Latino doctors in each of the states.
Sanchez said the findings point to a need for further research into Latino’s healthcare needs.