Hispanic Heritage Month 2021: Celebrating our Latino Outreach Efforts
September 30, 2021 community outreach
The coronavirus pandemic illuminated the need for equitable, high quality end-of-life care for people, regardless of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. When it became clear that Latino/Hispanic people were suffering and dying disproportionately from COVID-19, Compassion & Choices sought out policy recommendations that could positively impact the Latino community and other underserved communities. Anthony Hinojosa, originally from Baytown, Texas, has worked in Washington, D.C. and on Capitol Hill for over 16 years. He leads Compassion & Choices’ federal efforts to increase patient-directed care across the country.
“Starting conversations with Latino Members of Congress focused on a mutual understanding of the importance of addressing healthcare inequalities deepens our relationships and provides important context to our work,” said Hinojosa. Compassion & Choices made recommendations to Congress that ended up in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, including multiple telehealth provisions that we are now seeking to make permanent.
Compassion & Choices is also proud to support the Compassionate Care Act, introduced by Senator Richard Blumenthal (CT). Compassion & Choices provided major provisions to the legislation, including diversity, equity, and inclusion language that will provide culturally competent care and outreach to the Latino community, as well as all communities.
Compassion & Choices also works on a grassroots level to engage Black and Latino communities and other underserved communities in the conversation about end-of-life care. Maria Otero, a consultant for Compassion & Choices based in New Mexico, recognized that congress members are the ultimate community leaders, capable of raising awareness around issues facing Latinos, including end-of-life healthcare equity. So, she met with multiple Latino congress members virtually to share Compassion & Choices’ mission and resources.
“Many of these congress members and their staff are open to discussing death when they hear about Compassion & Choices’ mission,” said Otero, “their personal experiences often illuminate a passion for realizing more compassionate end-of-life care for their constituents.” Compassion & Choices offers Spanish-language resources to ensure Latino communities have the same access to information about planning and preparing for the end of life, which Maria shared with the congress members.
Compassion & Choices leads every one of its efforts with a mind towards including diverse communities and voices, whether it’s grassroots advocacy or direct meetings with elected officials. This Hispanic Heritage Month, we are celebrating our Latino staff and consultants and their efforts to include and amplify the needs of the Latino community in the end-of-life options movement. Their unique perspectives lend a powerful voice to Compassion & Choices’ federal efforts and our work more broadly.