What is the need?

Many of La Clinica's patients are immigrants who experienced challenging journeys to the US- both physically dangerous and mentally traumatizing.  Once here, many face the additional hardships of finding work, shelter and, access to health care services.  As a result the Latino population in Washington, DC suffers disproportionately from significant health disparities due to a lack of access to care and aggravating socioeconomic factors:

  • 97% of La Clínica’s patients had a house-hold income 200% below the federal poverty line. Poverty level is directly linked to limited access to care and high rates of uninsurance.
  • Compared to the general population, Latinos are more likely to be poor and less likely to have health coverage.
  • 42% of our patients do not have any kind of medical insurance.
  • Latinos are one of the highest uninsured populations in the District (15%).  This rate of uninsurance increases in suburban Maryland and Virginia despite a significant percentage of the Latino population (immigrant and native born) being employed.  
  • 61% of La Clínica’s patients reside in Washington, DC, 32% reside in the suburbs of Maryland, and 7% in the suburbs of Virginia.

In addition to economic barriers, the Latino community faces cultural and linguistic barriers. Studies reveal that most Latinos, once settled in the US, choose to acculturate, rather than assimilate; merging aspects of their native culture (familialism, food, language) with the culture and customs of their new home.  However, the pressure of becoming bi-cultural combined with the trauma of the migration experience, the lack of a cultural emphasis on physical activity or exercise, and limited access to health care and educational programs can aggravate and/or cause physical and mental health conditions.

All of these contributing factors combined with federal eligibility restrictions limiting access to safety net programs such as Medicaid and Medicare, continue to bar access to quality, routine, preventative health care.