‘Buscando el cuidado’: Spatial mismatch of physician services in Spanish for Latinxs in suburban Chicago

Authors: Aida Guhlincozzi*, University of Illinois
Topics: Medical and Health Geography, Ethnicity and Race, Geographic Information Science and Systems
Keywords: Health Geography, Latinxs, health care accessibility, Peter Gould Paper Competition
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Madison A, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The gap between Latinx population and culturally-matching physicians presents a potentially significant barrier to health care access for this large and growing population group. Latinx’s racial, cultural, and linguistic characteristics, along with their socio-economic behaviors, are changing the landscape of healthcare needs and interactions in both cities and nonmetropolitan areas.

This paper examines the spatial mismatch of Latinx physicians and Latinx patients in the United States, particularly those in exurban areas. Spatial mismatch is defined here as the (mis)placement of health care services which serve the needs of specific population groups. The paper employs a framework, based in intersectionality concepts and research from health geography and Latinx Studies, asserting that ethnic and immigrant groups have unique health care interests apart from the majority population. Such interests include the need to visit physicians who are culturally- and linguistically-matching, while obtaining high-quality, low-cost care, along with concerns about visibility and citizenship.

To identify spatial mismatch, this paper surveyed 32 Latinx adults living in an exurban suburb of Chicago, Illinois about their health care experiences. In addition, I estimated travel times for Latinx residents to all nearby Spanish language service-providing physicians in the selected community and in two other Chicago suburbs that experienced rapid recent growth in Latinx population.

Results showed the highest travel times to Spanish-language physicians, for Latinx residents in the suburb located farthest from Chicago. Many respondents also identified resource barriers including lack of insurance, high costs, and a lack of options in public transportation.

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