Dr. Cynthia Telles and Dr. Xavier Calligas Discuss How To Achieve Equity For The Hispanic/Latino Community in Celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month



*SACRAMENTO, CA / ACCESSWIRE / January 19, 2022 /* In celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, UCLA Health's new Latino affinity group, La Comunidad, gathered in early October with guest keynote speakers, Cynthia Telles, Clinical Professor in the UCLA Department of Psychiatry, and Dr. Xavier Calligas, Associate Director of the UCLA Hispanic Neuropsychiatric Center of Excellence, to discuss the topic of hope and equity for the Hispanic/Latino community. The conversation was an engaging discussion that explored how UCLA Health and its leaders can transform its policies, practices, and processes to advance equity and justice for the Hispanic/Latino community.

La Comunidad, an affinity group formed by UCLA faculty and students, was founded with the mission of creating a lasting space for Latino members, providing opportunities to network, and supporting the community as a whole. In alignment with the National Council of Hispanic Employment Program Managers (NCHEPM), this year's national theme was "esperanza"- Spanish for "hope" - as an attempt to spark conversation around the importance of having a sense of community and support that not only represents the Latino community but also offers resources that help improve lives and careers.

During the virtual conversation, Dr. Telles drew upon what inspired her to dedicate her career and passion towards the improvement of the Latino community in her area.

"Ever since I was very young, I would see my family do a lot of charitable work across the borders of El Paso and Juarez," said Dr. Cynthia Telles. "Seeing this, combined with a number of other influences, I started to see how public service was a truly noble cause - as my father used to say."

Moreover, Dr. Telles expanded on the importance of developing more diverse leadership and management within healthcare systems that includes individuals of different ethnicities, genders, orientations, and abilities. Dr. Telles asserted that in doing so, healthcare systems can more easily identify and eliminate disparities to improve patient care and health outcomes.

For Dr. Cagigas, bridging the past, present, and future of efforts aimed at supporting Latino and immigrant families can bring a sense of hope to the community. When more people share their experiences and voices, he says, greater progress and achievement are possible.

"So many times, Latino individuals find themselves so separated from each other that we miss the importance of reaching out, networking, and building our community," said Dr. Cagigas. "Latinos and Latinas really thrive with one another, and being able to see the power of one is essential for our community."

Through the work of organizations like UCLA'S Health group La Communidad and leadership figures within the Latino community such as Dr. Telles and Dr. Cagigas, meaningful advancements to address health disparities are underway.

"If more and more of us get together and dialogue to share lived experiences, hopefully, we can begin to change the structures and the systems that we either actively or passively participate in," Dr. Cagiggas said. "I think a group like La Comunidad and other health system affinity groups are a good way to keep all of us honest and re-center often marginalized voices while keeping efforts for transformative change in plain view."

To view the full conversation, click here.

Contact: Andrew Mitchell, media@cambridgeglobal.com

*SOURCE:* Cynthia Telles
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