Why Many Latinos Dread Going to the Doctor

Research indicates that Latinos are the ethnic group least likely to visit a doctor. More than one-fourth of Latino adults in the United States lack a usual healthcare provider and almost half of Latinos never visit a medical professional during the course of the year. These low utilization rates are generally attributed to “traditional” barriers to access: immigration status, lack of insurance, and limited English proficiency. However, cultural explanations may also be behind Latino healthcare disparities. For example, many Latinos rely on natural home remedies, and may feel more comfortable relying on alternative health practitioners. A lack of trust in Western medicine is likely a compounding issue; providers tend not to utilize the relationship-oriented approach that Latino patients value. Lastly, a lack of Latino providers may disincline patients who would feel more comfortable with a provider from a similar background.

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