As a rising third year resident in the Family and Community Medicine Program, and as a native Spanish speaker and immigrant from Puerto Rico, at least 30% of the patients I see are Latino. In North Carolina, Hispanics account for more than 63% of the population growth in the last years.
Working in primary care has given me insight into health disparities and social determinants of health. Understanding these translates into providing higher quality care to patients. While leaders have devised strategies to reduce disparities, as a physician who listens to stories of Latino patients day in and day out, I wondered whether gathering the first-person stories, from patients, as well as from health care employees who have devoted years to serving the Latino population, might supplement our understanding of some these barriers.
To respect the desire to hide the identity of my patients, I decided to photograph their shoes. Shoes often convey a lot of information about us. In this exhibit, I’ve paired photographs with excerpts from some of my interviews. I’ve also produced an audio documentary featuring the wisdoms gained from individuals with over 70 of years of collective experience working with Latinos in the United States.
– Dr. Maria Portela
To listen to excerpts from Maria’s interviews with healthcare providers with collectively over 70 years of experience working with Hispanics in the United States, select here to play play