September 2020 Newsletter
Upcoming Events
Save the Date
NHMA is seeking partners and donations for our future health care workforce!
Thursday, November 19, 2020
8:00 PM 10:00 PM ET
NHMA Virtual Events
Wednesday, September 23, 2020
7 PM - 8 PM ET

Thursday, September 28, 2020
Empowering Gay and Bisexual Men to #TalkUndetectable Twitter Chat
The NHHF National Hispanic Health Professional Student Scholarship applications are OPEN!
For more information and to register, go here.
NHMA COVID-19 Education and Advocacy
NHMA Board of Directors, Chapter Leaders and our networks – National Hispanic Health Professional Leadership Network, Council of Medical Societies, Latino Heath Organizations have provided their priorities to improve the health of Latinos through the following activities:
  1. Developed a Resource hub at
  2. NHMA Chapter leaders have met three times to share their COVID-19 collections with NHMA, including video messages in Spanish.
  3. NHMA sent a letter with input from above network to support COVID-19 Relief Legislation (CARES Act, HEROES Act) to Speaker Pelosi, Senate Leader McConnell
  4. NHMA sent letter to support COVID-19 Relief Legislation (CARES ACT) to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus
  5. NHMA sent letter voicing concern on the Trump Administration’s Immigration Changes during COVID-19 to Congressional Hispanic Caucus Health Task Force
  6. CMS hosts recurring stakeholder engagement sessions to share information about their response to COVID-19. To view these sessions, go here.
  7. NHMA President Dr. Elena Rios and Board Member Dr. Maria Carrasco are members of the COVID -19 Engagement Consultation Committee.
  8. NHMA is also a part of meetings with the Assistant Secretary of Health and Deputy Assistant for Minority Health on minorities and testing and with the NIH Community Engagement Network.
  9. As you know, COVID-19 continues to disproportionately impact Latinos. That is why Salud America! at UT Health San Antonio today is launching the "Juntos, We Can Stop COVID-19” digital communication campaign to help Latino families take action to slow the spread of coronavirus. The #JuntosStopCovid Partner Sharing Toolkit features Latino culturally relevant fact sheets, infographics, and video role model stories, and can be found here Please feel free to share with your networks!

NHMA Virtual Briefing Series – In the months of May, June, July, and August, NHMA and its partners held 4 virtual briefing sessions on COVID-19.

See below on where to watch for CME credit!
#1 May 28 – Managing Chronic Care Patients w/ COVID-19 *Please go here to watch this webinar for CME credit
#2 June 24 – COVID-19 and Latino Mental Health *Please go here to watch this webinar
#3 July 22 – COVID-19 Impact on Health Care Delivery *Please go here to watch this webinar for CME credit
#4 August 26 – Dealing with the New Normal *Please go here to watch this webinar

NHMA will continue its monthly COVID-19 Virtual Briefings in January 2021. If interested in speaking, please contact Elena Rios, MD:

NHMA COVID-19 Resource Hub - We invite you to send links to reports, articles, videos on COVID-19 and Physicians/Health Professionals Caring for Latinos and on Latino Messages. Please send your materials to Briah Stokes at
Legislative Update & Action Alerts
VOTE – for Latino Health!

This week, some Americans are starting to vote in the Presidential Election (in person voting is Nov. 3rd) by mail ballots. We encourage you to VOTE for those who will support our communities by increasing access to healthcare that is affordable and accessible and builds on the ACA (which provides benefits such as the preventive services, mental health, vision and dental care, coverage for children up to age 26 on parent’s health plan, and insurance for those with preexisting conditions.

ACTION ALERT – Contact Your Senators
The House Appropriations Committee passed their FY 2021 Appropriations Budget. The Labor-Health Human Services-Education (L-HHS-Ed) Appropriations bill included a report language for both of NHMA’s requests, a Minority Leadership Fellowship Program and a Junior Faculty Research Accelerator Program. The Senate has yet to release their FY2021 L-HHS-Ed bill.

Read more on NHMA Legislative Updates here.
Programs Update
NHMA has various opportunities for our members and partners to engage with other health care providers and patients. Some of these opportunities include providing short educational video messages on COVID-19, cardiovascular disease, and patients living with HIV; mentoring health professional students, spokespersons for the NHHF Stop Vaping Campaign, and more.

We encourage your participation.

Read more on NHMA's Current Programs:

  • NIH All of Us Research Program - supported by All of Us Research Program
  • Looking for speakers for All of Us Program Fireside Chat Series. If interested, contact Elena Rios, MD:
  • NHMA Chapters
  • Looking for Steering Committee Members.
  • NHMA Medical School Liaison Program
  • Looking for liaisons for LMSA Chapters! If interested, sign up here.
  • NHMA - CDC PACT - Let's Stop HIV Together - supported by CDC
  • Looking for physician and resident video messages! If interested, sign up here.
  • NHMA Cardiovascular Disease Campaign - supported by Amgen
  • Looking for physician and resident video messages! If interested, sign up here.
  • NHMA College Health Scholars Program - supported by HHS OMH
  • NHMA Opioid Project - supported by Allied Against Opioid Abuse
  • NHHF Stop Vaping Campaign - supported by CVS Health-Aetna Foundation
  • Looking for spokespersons! If interested, sign up here.
  • NHHF Health Literacy Program & COVID-19 - supported by Centene Corporation
  • NHMA 24th Annual Hispanic Health Conference
  • Has been postponed to March 18-21, 2021
We are seeking physicians and health care providers that treat Hispanic/Latinx patients to create a short video on cardiovascular disease and the importance of being heart healthy, and physicians and providers treating Hispanic/Latinx patients with HIV to create a short video on the importance of HIV prevention/treatment. We are also seeking physicians to discuss COVID-19 and treating patients with the virus.

Check out other educational videos our members have done on COVID-19, cardiovascular disease, HIV, and more, on our YouTube channel.
Membership Update
**Interested in becoming an NHMA leader? Join our committees, Council of Young Physicians, Council of Residents, Chapter Steering Committees today! If interested, please contact Vincent Gearity:

We are seeking liaisons (physicians or residents) to meet with Latino medical students at medical schools in the NHMA Chapter Cities: Sacramento or Los Angeles, California; Albuquerque, NM; Phoenix, AZ; El Paso, San Antonio, or Harlingen, TX; Chicago, IL; New Orleans, LA; New York City, NY; Boston, MA: Philadelphia, PA; Washington, DC Metro Area; Atlanta, GA; and Miami, FL. If interested, please contact:

COR and CYP have started recruiting Members for the NHMA Chapter Steering Committees and other networking activities for the year and invite interested Young Physicians to join CYP or Residents/Fellows to join COR.
Of note, NHMA does provide awards for both groups that are presented at the March 2021 Annual Conference. 

NHMA Members are hard at work being catalyst for change in their communities. 

The 4 major values of an NHMA membership are Advocacy, Education, Leadership Development and Networking. Our major benefits for health professionals:

  • Opportunities to be nominated for commissions and advisory boards in the Federal government, private sector, and other national health professional associations.
  • Opportunities to mentor medical students and residents.
  • Discounts at the NHMA Annual Conference for registration fees & briefings for CME credits.
  • Opportunities to share your research either by being a speaker or poster presenter at our annual conference.
  • Network with other healthcare professionals our 16 NHMA Chapter Forums.

Our major benefits for residents/health professional students:

  • Opportunities to mentor college students.
  • Discounts at the NHMA Annual Conference.
  • Opportunities to share your research or service learning as a poster presenter at our annual conference.
  • Network with health professionals at one of NHMA Chapter Forums and Annual Conference.

Ways You Can Get Involved With NHMA:

Click below to see our membership options:

If you have received an award or attended an event and would like to be featured in our monthly Membership Update, please contact by the first Friday of every month.

In early September, New York City physicians, including NHMA fellows Yvette Calderon, MD and Richard Torres, MD, held a webinar to address the health challenges of Hispanic/Latinx in NYC during COVID-19.

NHMA Southern California Chapter Steering Committee member, Yessica Roman, PhD and NHMA President & CEO Elena Rios, MD, wrote an article on Nutrition and Diabetes that was published in the San Diego Tribune. Check out the article, here.

Maria Carrasco, MD represented NHMA at the US Department of Health and Human Services meeting of the Vaccine Consultation Committee with Secretary Azar.

Elena Rios, MD participated in the HHS National Testing Committee on increasing testing for our minority communities, and the National Academies and Science and Medicine public comment on its initial chapters of its COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Plan.

NHMA Board of Directors Member Claudia Zamora represented NHMA at the National Foundation of Infectious Disease launch of the Flu Vaccines.

Thanks to Nellie Correa, MD for being interviewed for the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute Summit on Climate Change and Latino communities.

NHMA DC Metro Area Chapter Co-Chair Sergio Rimola joined the Virginia Vaccination Advisory Workgroup representing NHMA and the Virginia Latino Advisory workgroup,
National Hispanic Medical Association has been invited to participate with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to invite our networks to encourage individuals to volunteer in the nation’s Operation Warp Speed Clinical Trials. The goal is to include a diverse group of 30,000 Americans to be tested to be able to offer COVID-19 vaccine doses to 300M Americans by end of this year and early next year:

NHMA also encourages our networks to enroll and to inform your colleagues and patients to enroll in the Pfizer Vaccine Clinical Trial:

NHMA also has a strong interest in nominating researchers to clinical trials for the government and for pharmaceutical companies. Please send Wanda Salcedo your interest at by Friday, September 18

We are also seeking: physicians, physician assistants and nurse practitioners (do not have to be Latino) who care for high risk Latinos and HIV patients (MSM and Transgender Females) to participate in the first national Latino HIV Healthcare Survey or be a part of Spanish radio interview on epilepsy among Latinos.  If interested, please contact Wanda Salcedo, Executive Assistant, at NHHF is also looking for sponsors for our NHHF Scholarship Ceremony - Nov. 19th --- 5-7 pm/PST; 8-10 pm EST on Zoom. If interested, please contact Wanda Salcedo, Executive Assistant, at
Featured Announcements
Apply for the NHHF National Hispanic Health Professional Student Scholarship!
Deadline: September 25.
Check here for more information.
What is Epilepsy?
By: Angel Hernandez, MD

Epilepsy is a disease of the nervous system. It is usually diagnosed after a person has had at least two seizures (or after one seizure with a high risk for more) that were not caused by some known medical condition. About half of the people who have one seizure without a clear cause will have another one, usually within 6 months. If there is a known cause for your seizure (for example, brain injury or other type of known brain condition), then you are twice as likely to have another seizure.

Since 2003, Hispanics have become the largest minority group in the United States, representing an important part of the American population. Currently, there are approximately 60.6 million Hispanics in the U.S. (18% of US population). We know that more than 3.4 million people living in the United States are diagnosed with epilepsy, and approximately 710,000 are Hispanic. Thus, approximately 1 in 26 people in this country could potentially suffer from epilepsy.

Although, epilepsy can affect everyone, it occurs more frequently in communities with lack of access to care, such as Hispanic communities. Despite its prevalence within the U.S., people still do not completely understand epilepsy and there are many misperceptions that surround it. This all contributes to discrimination, difficulty with diagnosis, and even failure to follow a treatment plan for their seizures. 

Read the rest of the article here.
Calling all residents and fellows! Join NHMA COR today! Benefits include various mentorship, networking, research, and NHMA Resident and Fellow leadership opportunities! Membership also includes the monthly NHMA newsletter, discounts for the Annual NHMA Conference, and more!
Are you interested in giving advice to residency applicants for the 2020 Match cycle? If so, sign up to be part of our Residency Match Webinar Panel sponsored by NHMA Council of Residents. We are looking for representation from as many specialties as possible to serve on the panel. This is a great opportunity for members of the Council of Residents to stay involved or for interested current residents to become involved in the Council of Residents. Sign up on the form here.
NHMA has been a partner of CDC and other organizations working through the CDC’s national campaign to reduce stigma, promote #HIV testing, prevent HIV & help people w/ HIV stay healthy called Let’s Stop HIV Together and we urge you to connect to:

This month we focus on:

HIV/AIDS in Gay and Bisexual Latino Men

Hispanic and Latino male gay or bisexual communities are at a much higher risk for contracting HIV/AIDS. According to the literature, “Latinos maintain an AIDS case and death rate more than 3 times higher than whites, a greater rate of progression to AIDS and this is the case especially for men who have sex with men.1

Latinos face several barriers to healthcare and behavioral healthcare that cause toxic stress due to low income jobs, crime and violence, poor and crowded housing, food deserts and limited English proficiency. Latinos also have healthcare disparities due to high rates of uninsured and limited healthcare facilities and Latino physicians and healthcare providers. 

In addition, Latinos with AIDS also have drug abuse and mental health issues as well as stigma in their families outcomes1 The CDC found that “in 2016, there were 2,863 deaths among Hispanics/Latinos with diagnosed HIV in the US”.In the Latino community 1 out of 6 Hispanics/Latinos have HIV and are unaware of it, many of the people within this community may avoid testing or treatment due to fear of disclosing their immigration status.3

Gay and bisexual men often contract HIV due to participation in anal sex without protection, whether that be condoms or preventive HIV medication.The stigma surrounding gays and bisexuals leading to homophobia and discrimination play a significant role in the health of these men that can inhibit them from seeking and receiving quality health services such as HIV testing, treatment, and other prevention services.3 “Anal sex is the riskiest type of sex for getting or transmitting HIV. Receptive anal sex is 13 times as risky for getting HIV as insertive anal sex”1,2 Latex or polyurethane male condoms are highly effective in preventing HIV in both insertive and receptive anal sex risk of contracting “HIV through insertive anal sex with an HIV-positive partner, on average, by 63%, and receptive anal sex with an HIV-positive partner, on average, by 72%”.4 This level of effectiveness decreases with decreased consistent use and it is important that water- or silicone-based lubricant is used during anal sex to decrease the risk of condom breakage or tearing of anal tissue.4 Condoms combined with other methods of protection is advised.

PrEP is a preventative measure that those who are at high risk for contracting HIV can administer daily to prevent the transmission of HIV, “ when taken daily, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV. Studies have shown that PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99% when taken daily”.5 “Post exposure prophylaxis (PEP) is the use of antiretroviral drugs after a single high-risk event to stop HIV seroconversion. PEP must be started as soon as possible to be effective—and always within 72 hours of a possible exposure”.6

Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is able to reduce the viral load in the blood and body fluids to very low levels in a HIV positive person.4 This method of treatment is called viral suppression and it defined as having less than 200 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood, which is often so low that it is undetectable and eliminates the risk of transmission to sexual partners.4

  1. Gonzalez JS, Hendriksen ES, Collins EM, Durán RE, Safren SA. Latinos and HIV/AIDS: examining factors related to disparity and identifying opportunities for psychosocial intervention research. AIDS Behav. 2009;13(3):582-602. doi:10.1007/s10461-008-9402-4
  2. Latinos. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published February 6, 2020. Accessed August 25, 2020.
  3. HIV and Gay and Bisexual Men. Published November 12, 2019. Accessed 25, 2020.
  4. Anal Sex. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published November 8, 2019. Accessed August 25, 2020.
  5. Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP). Published May 13, 2020. Accessed August 25, 2020.
  6. Post-Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Published November 8, 2019. Accessed August 25, 2020.
Carmen Alvarez, Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins University
Elena Rios, MD, MSPH, FACP, President & CEO, National Hispanic Medical Association


The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that there are many risk factors for getting infected, such as old age, having diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure, living in poor communities, and being in groups with people who don’t reside in households.

“Latinos, especially, need public health education, testing, and treatment during this pandemic,” states Dr. Elena Rios, President & CEO, National Hispanic Medical Association, “because they have higher rates of infection of COVID-19 than other communities in the U.S.”

Many Latinos are essential workers who are also at high risk of infection. Some work in supermarkets, hospitals and nursing homes, or live in overcrowded housing. Health disparities are growing due to a lack of preventive care, health education, general healthcare, and mental health services, as well as a lack of Latino physicians and nurses.

Hispanics are 2.8 times more likely to be infected with the coronavirus and 4.6 times more likely to be hospitalized with it than non-Hispanics, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Rios reports that “NHMA has partnered this year with AARP on a health communications campaign to inform Latinos why staying healthy is important and how to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19.”

Read the entire op-ed here.
In August, NHMA President & CEO, Elena Rios, MD, discussed topics like health and economic disparities, and the disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on the Hispanic/Latino population during the "Strength thru Unity" broadcast. To listen in or download the live stream, go here.
San Antonio Military Medical Center (SAMMC) Army gastroenterology fellows are interested in speaking with grade school or high school student minorities who may be interested in a career in medicine or military medicine. To set up a virtual meeting, please reach out to me at
We ask that you consider making a $25 donation to help NHMA & NHHF help our health professionals help their patients:

1) NHHF Health Professional Student Scholarship
2) NHMA Resident Leadership Program.
3) NHMA Physician Leadership Fellowship
4) Special donation requested for Puerto Rico earthquake disaster:

Join NHMA as a member and participate in our Chapters and national campaigns and programs!

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