Physicians To Start First Hispanic Medical Clinic at Grady Hospital
physicians at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta will open a General
Medical Clinic for adult Latino patients in March, a first for Grady,
which services a growing number of Spanish-speaking patients each year.
Opening the clinic is an
effort to eliminate the language, cultural and health care barriers
many Hispanic patients face. The Department of Multicultural Affairs
within the Grady Health System is spearheading the effort, and is patterning
the clinic after the Pediatric Latino Clinic at the Boston Medical Center
"What we're trying to do
is carve out a Latino clinic inside the medical clinic," said Inginia
Genao, M.D., Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Emory University
School of Medicine, and Director of Multicultural Affairs, who is developing
the Latino Clinic, along with Emory University internists Clyde Watkins,
M.D., Medical Director of General Medical Clinics 1 and 2, Stacy Higgins,
M.D., Emory University pediatrician Flavia Mercado, Multicultural Affairs
Coordinator Elizabeth Sablon, and Jada Bussey-Jones, M.D., an Emory
University physician and associate program director for the General
Medical Clinics at Grady.
Dr. Higgins, a bilingual
physician in the Division of General Medicine, will provide medical
assistance when the clinic opens in March. The clinic, serving adult
patients above age 18, will initially open three days each week and
will be staffed by Dr. Higgins and Dr. Genao and six medical residents,
all of whom are bilingual. Plans also include recruiting bilingual staff,
including a bilingual nurse.
Although no numbers are available
on how many Latino patients are currently serviced at Grady, Dr. Genao
says: "My hope is that by decreasing the language barrier alone, the
numbers will increase dramatically to the point where we will move out
of the medical clinic and into a different site."
She estimates that about
70 percent of her patients speak Spanish. Dr. Bussey-Jones said there
is a tremendous need for the clinic. "We recognize that these patients
are better served by having a person speak the same language," Dr. Bussey-Jones
said. "If we have the services, physicians, and nurses, and technicians
here that can make those appointments and contacts with the other providers,
it will be very helpful, as opposed to patients being on their own.
They know they can always come back to their primary care provider to
talk and to ask questions."
Dr. Genao, who is a native
of the Dominican Republic, said the clinic would help eliminate multiple
language barriers and address the explosive boom among the Hispanic
patient population in Atlanta.
"By having a small staff
of bilingual healthcare providers, patients will feel more welcome and
comfortable in a setting all their own," Dr. Genao said. "When they
come to the (Latino) medical clinic, there will be a protected environment,
where at least the language is not so much a barrier."
Dr. Genao also says that
patients who receive care from a physician who speaks the same language
are more satisfied, and disease outcomes often improve. She and other
physicians are considering a similar clinic at Hughes Spalding to address
the needs of the Latino pediatric population.