Hispanic Heritage Month is underway September 15 to October 15. We join in celebrating the vast array of Hispanic and Latino people, cultures, traditions and contributions across the world.
Outreach and Education
Empath Health is committed to meeting the needs of care and comfort for all populations in our community. Our team of community partnership specialists play an integral role in connecting with veteran, African-American, Jewish and Hispanic communities.
The team specializes in culturally-based outreach and education through our Traditions/Tradiciones program. They become part of the communities doing work with care councils, partner organizations, events and presentations to ensure inclusion and access to care.
Helping kick off Hispanic Heritage Month at the UniMex Mexican Independence Day celebration in Largo on September 15 were Maria Pepe, the Empath Health Hispanic community partnership specialist, and a group of Suncoast Hospice teen volunteers.
“September 15 marks the anniversary of independence of five Latin-American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period and Columbus Day (Día de la Raza) is recognized on October 12,” Pepe explained.
She added, “At the event, we shared information in English and Spanish about all programs and services of Empath Health available to serve the diverse community of Pinellas County, promoted volunteer opportunities and gave brownies to children,” Pepe shared.
Care and Support
Our care teams are dedicated to treating each individual and family of every culture with compassion, understanding and respect.
“I always put compassion at the top. You have to see a patient as a patient. There is no difference in meeting a patient’s basic needs. We must make that effort to connect with our patients. They are coming to us for care and advice and we cannot assume anything. We must be kind, sensitive and gentle in our approach,” said Jasmin Jerez-Marte, MD, the Suncoast Hospice medical director.
Team members make special bonds in care.
“We have several bilingual staff who are respected for working with the community, but it’s not just us. Families have been giving me back great feedback about Paul Lomangino, a Silver Team social worker, and Denise McCoy, a Care Center South Pinellas respiratory therapist. These employees are not Latino and don’t speak the language, but they have the magic to connect with our patients,” Pepe noted.
Other staff make a meaningful impact on service.
“Jill Fowler, the mid-county Suncoast Hospice teen volunteer coordinator, has had conversations with many immigrants and families, and they love her. She is very compassionate,” Pepe said.
Teen volunteers also provide helpful support.
“Our teen volunteer program is very fortunate to work with students from a wide variety of cultures who speak many different languages. We have been able to provide several volunteer opportunities for our teen volunteers who are bilingual in Spanish and English. They have assisted Maria Pepe with outreach to our local Hispanic/Latino community, as well as helped with community bereavement groups, Hispanic Leadership workshops, Make a Difference Day events, Pastor Appreciation Day, and much more,” Fowler shared.
We are here to serve all in our community. To learn more about our programs and services, visit our website or call (727) 523-3427 to schedule a community presentation.