Inspiring young Latinos to join healthcare field comes at critical time

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — The news that CVS Caremark has partnered with the Hispanic Heritage Foundation to inspire and prepare young Latinos to join the healthcare field is not only positive in its own right but is especially important when you look at the fact that the nation’s Hispanic population is growing four times faster than the total U.S. population.

(THE NEWS: CVS Caremark, Hispanic Heritage Foundation partner to inspire future Latino healthcare leaders. For the full story, click here)

As the article states, through a new healthcare category of the HHF Youth Awards program, CVS Caremark and HHF will recognize this fall and winter more than 30 high school seniors of Latino descent for their academic performance, community service and interest in pursuing a career in health care.

Providing opportunities for career development and aiming to bolster the number of young Latinos pursuing traditional and nontraditional healthcare careers is essential. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population grew by 43% — four times the nation’s 9.7% growth rate. The Hispanic population grew in every region of the United States between 2000 and 2010, with the most significant growth occurring in the South (a 57% increase) and the Midwest (a 49% increase), according to the U.S. Census Bureau. While the Hispanic population grew at a slower rate in the West and Northeast, the regions still saw significant growth. The Hispanic population in the West grew by 34% and by 33% in the Northeast.

Furthermore, a September 2011 special report by IBISWorld on the growing Hispanic population stated that over the next five years to 2016, the Hispanic contribution to the colleges and universities industry is projected to grow at an average annual rate of 5.1% to $44 billion. "Institutional and government programs that promote minority and low-income college attainment will continue to boost the Hispanic contribution to higher education," the report noted.

Clearly, the Hispanic population is a vital market. Now, factor in the fact that some 32 million uninsured will gain coverage beginning in 2014, amid an ongoing primary care physician shortage. The U.S. healthcare system already is overflowing, and finding ways to encourage youth to pursue careers in health care is critical.