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Penn State Health celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month Sept. 15 – Oct. 15

Penn State Health is honoring the cultures and contributions of both Hispanic and Latino Americans by hosting a variety of cultural events during National Hispanic Heritage Month, which takes place from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

“National Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the beautifully diverse Hispanic culture,” said Dr. Sarah Ramirez, family and community medicine physician at Penn State Health. “It’s a time to acknowledge the presence, traditions, beliefs and contributions of a community with ancestry that spans continents and celebrate how their traditions and customs have impacted our lives.”

[“El Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana es un momento para celebrar la hermosa y diversa cultura hispana. Es un momento para reconocer la presencia, tradiciones, creencias y contribuciones de una comunidad con ascendencia que se extiende por continentes y celebrar cómo sus tradiciones y costumbres han impactado nuestras vidas.”]

Penn State Health’s Hispanic Professional Association is collaborating with Penn State Health’s Office of Diversity Equity and Inclusion, Penn State College of Medicine’s Latino Medical Student Association and Penn State University at University Park to host the following events for employees, in recognition of the distinct backgrounds, cultures and health needs of the Hispanic/Latino community:

  • Thursday, Sept. 23 – Virtual Movie Night, hosted by Penn State Health’s Hispanic Professional Association, will embrace Hispanic/Latino culture through a joint virtual movie experience.
  • Thursday, Sept. 30 – “Interpreter Etiquette,” presented by the Latino Medical Student Association, will share best practices for students or health care professionals working with an interpreter, as well as tips for maintaining empathy/engagement with the patient in this context.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 5 – Virtual Cooking Lesson, hosted by Penn State Health’s Hispanic Professional Association, will celebrate Hispanic culture through cooking and discussion.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 6 – “The Latino Paradox,” hosted by Penn State’s College of Liberal Arts, will address the subject of Latino public health and leading research on the Latino epidemiological paradox.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 13 – “Inclusion Academy: Cancer Disparities in the Hispanic/Latino Community,” members from Penn State Health’s Hispanic Professional Association will discuss the social determinants of health and cancer disparities in the Hispanic/Latino population.

The week before National Hispanic Heritage Month officially began, members of the Hispanic Professional Association also served as panelists in a virtual discussion, “Inclusion Academy: Providing Culturally Responsive Care to Hispanic/Latinx Patients” on Sept. 9.

Penn State Health’s Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion will continue the celebration after the end of National Hispanic Heritage Month, hosting an event, “Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) Festival,” on Wednesday, Oct. 27 to help to build an inclusive culture for patients and employees in Hispanic/Latino communities.

More information about these events can be found here.

More cultural events planned

Penn State Health’s efforts to foster inclusivity and awareness don’t end on Oct. 15, said Lynette Chappell-Williams, Penn State Health’s vice president and chief diversity officer. In keeping with its commitment to diversity and inclusion for all, the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has scheduled a variety of events designed to engage staff and promote health care equity for all populations throughout the rest of this year and beyond.

“The events hosted as part of National Hispanic Heritage Month, and future events focusing on other diverse populations, are designed to increase our workforce’s understanding of other cultures, perspectives and values,” said Chappell-Williams. “This knowledge enables our providers and staff to be culturally responsive to the needs of our increasingly diverse patients and to be inclusive and respectful of our colleagues.”

About National Hispanic Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month began as “National Hispanic Heritage Week” on Sept. 15, 1968, under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded to a month-long observance by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. The date Sept. 15 was chosen because it coincides with the Independence Day celebrations of five Central American nations: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, and Mexico celebrates its independence on Sept. 16.

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