Hispanic Heritage Month
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted health inequities in our country. The Hispanic population was one that was hit harder by COVID-19 than others. However, the contributions from members of the Hispanic community have positively impacted every level of the pandemic response from global efforts to work in our very own community. During Hispanic Heritage Month, we are taking time to recognize how important these contributions have been.
The role of Hispanic people during the pandemic has been vital, from work in essential roles such as advocacy, agriculture, and education to roles in medicine, vaccine development, and many others. Without the initial groundbreaking research on RNA by Nobel Prize winner, Severo Ochoa, conducted in the 20th century, we would not have the research to build an mRNA vaccine. He was one of the first scientists to investigate how DNA and RNA are formed. In addition, Joaquin Duato, CEO of Johnson and Johnson and Nanette Cocero, global president of Pfizer, have been leading companies to create a safe and effective vaccine.
In our own community, we have our own Public Health Officer Dr. Francisco Velázquez working with everyone in our community to share important information in both English and Spanish. We have groups like Latinos en Spokane who have been integral in Spokane’s vaccine rollout and helping with the needs of the community. We also have promotors (community health workers) who have used their connections, creativity, and compassion to help the Hispanic community and anybody else in need. For a perfect example of a community health worker’s impact, read David’s touching story.
There are so many more contributions that haven’t been mentioned, but what’s important is understanding the positive influence people of Hispanic heritage have had on the pandemic response globally and locally. This September and October, we celebrate stronger and healthier communities because of Hispanic heritage.