Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

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With beginnings in 1968, National Hispanic Heritage Month takes place annually from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, marking an opportunity to focus upon, reflect and celebrate the abundant contributions—past, present and have yet to be made—and diverse cultures that encompass the many vibrant Hispanic and Latino communities in the United States. In honor of the month, we invited Overlake team members to share their thoughts on what Hispanic Heritage Month means to them, their favorite cultural traditions and the importance of diversity in healthcare.

rom left: John, Overlake team member; Paulina, Overlake team member; Jennifer, nurse; Anabel, MA; Shelia, nurse; Amy Lang, Director of Epic; Rosa, nurse
From left: Natalie, Overlake team member; John, Overlake team member; Paulina, Overlake team member; Jennifer, nurse; Anabel, MA; Shelia, nurse; Amy Lang, Director of Epic; Rosa, nurse
What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
  • “Being a Mexican American during Hispanic Heritage Month means celebrating and embracing my dual cultural identity. It's a time to reflect on the rich history, traditions, and contributions of both my Mexican heritage and my American upbringing. It's a chance to educate others about the diverse tapestry of Hispanic cultures and the unique blend that is Mexican American culture. It's also an opportunity to connect with my roots, share stories, and honor the resilience and achievements of my ancestors and fellow Mexican Americans. Overall, it's a time of pride and unity, highlighting the beauty of diversity within the Hispanic community and the United States as a whole.” – John, Overlake team member
  • “It's a reminder of where my family is from and how far we've come. It's a time to shout even louder how proud I am to be Latinax! And a great reminder to continue to educate my children of the journey, the culture and pride!” – Amy Lang, Director of Epic
  • “To me, Hispanic Heritage Month means carrying the strength of my grandparents and ancestors who faced many barriers so that I could have much more opportunities than they did.” – Jennifer, nurse
  • "Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate, reflect and learn more about the history and contributions of the Latino community." – Natalie, Overlake team member
What brings you joy about your heritage and culture? What are some of your favorite traditions?
  • “Although I am a U.S. citizen now, I have always been very proud to be from Chile and I speak about it often. September 18 is Chilean Independence Day. One of my favorite traditions to share with my family is cooking traditional Chilean food, such as empanadas, pastel de choclo and prebre.” – Paulina, Overlake team member
  • “What brings me joy about my heritage is that there are so many ways to celebrate—whether it is through music, enjoying delicious food or watching traditional dance performances. My favorite traditions are celebrating El dia de la independencia (Mexico's Independence Day) and El dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead).” – Anabel, MA
  • “Family closeness—Our tradition is to get together every weekend to cook and talk about memories from our childhood.” – Sheila, nurse
  • “My fondest memories are the parrandas. A parranda is one of the most joyous events of the holiday season, often stretching from dusk to dawn. Food, drink and island songs come together to create a truly unique Puerto Rican cultural event.” – Rosa, nurse
Why do you think diversity and inclusion in the healthcare workforce are important? How do greater diversity and inclusion affect the patient experience?
  • "I see diversity and inclusion as a vital part of our healthcare system. Not only does it allow us to have wider perspectives, it also gives us an opportunity to connect with our team members and patients." – Anabel, MA
  • "I believe that diversity and inclusion in the healthcare workforce are incredibly important for several reasons. Diverse healthcare teams bring together a range of perspectives, backgrounds and experiences. This diversity can lead to more innovative and effective solutions to complex medical issues. Different cultural insights can also help healthcare providers better understand and address the unique needs of a diverse patient population. When patients see healthcare professionals who look like them or come from similar backgrounds, it can build trust and improve communication. Patients are more likely to feel comfortable discussing their health concerns, which can lead to more accurate diagnoses and better treatment outcomes. Inclusion in healthcare also reduces disparities in access to care and quality of care, which is particularly important for minority populations. A diverse healthcare workforce is better equipped to tackle health disparities and provide culturally competent care. It can help address issues related to language barriers, cultural beliefs and social determinants of health that can impact patient outcomes. Greater diversity and inclusion in the healthcare workforce not only benefit healthcare providers themselves by creating a more dynamic and compassionate workplace, but also significantly enhance the patient experience by ensuring equitable access to quality care and improved health outcomes.” – John, Overlake team member
  • “We each have a story. By listening to one another, we can better understand the journey that has made us who we are.” – Rosa, nurse
  • “Diversity in the healthcare helps ensure all backgrounds, beliefs and ethnicities are represented.”  – Jennifer, nurse
What led you to pursue a career in healthcare?
  • “As a cancer survivor, I traveled to doctors’ offices with thick folders full of labs, images, notes, you name it. As I was learning about Epic and its benefits, I truly began to realize how much this could help not only the provider but the patient, and so the journey began. Today, I still strive to ensure we keep the patient at top of mind while understanding how we can continually ease the way for our clinicians in order for them to help the patient with their journey in health, education about their health, and what's next.” – Amy Lang, Director of Epic
  • “I have been working in different areas of healthcare (clinical and administrative) for around 19 years. What I love the most about being in healthcare is the opportunity to be there for someone and help guide them through what can sometimes be a very difficult and stressful time.”  – Paulina, Overlake team member
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