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FHFHA Prepares to Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month

Posted by: Thomas R. Ortiz, MD, FAAFP, 13 September 2019

It is with honor and a privilege to have an opportunity to represent the health care status interests of our great Latino community here in New Jersey during the month-long celebration of Latino heritage.

As a practicing community Family Physician, and in private practice in Newark for the past 37 years, I have been through and witnessed many changes in the health care system and its delivery to the people of the city. During this time, Latinos have remained the most employed population, yet we remain the most uninsured and underinsured, with increasing gaps of health care disparities, especially in the incidence and complications of diabetes mellitus (DM).

My practice, the Forest Hill Family Health Associates, was founded in Newark’s North Ward. Our mission is to serve the poor and underserved, and provide access to those complex patients that need the “family medicine” touch to make a difference in their lives. We provide advocacy and a medical home for a population that has no voice to represent their interests in the health care system. By most measures, we have been successful in that mission.

As Medical Director of the Center of Excellence for Latino Health at Clara Maass Medical Center, we extend this mission by studying and providing direct resources to meet the needs presented by this Latino community; targeting all age groups with support, including outreach, education, health promotions, mentorship and access to appropriate, culturally- and linguistically-competent medical services.