1st Annual Hispanic Heritage Month

"Unidos Mejoramos la Salud Hispana"
(Coming together to improve Hispanic health)

(9/15/21 to 10/15/21)

Providing Culturally Responsive Care to Hispanic/Latinx Patients 
(Virtual Panel Discussion)

September 9, 2021 at 12pm 


  • Sarah Inés Ramírez, MD, FAAFP - Family and Community Medicine

  • Sol De Jesus, MD - Neurology

  • Madeline Feliciano-Weiser, MSN, RN - Penn State Cancer Institute (PSCI)

  • Adrian Zurca, MD - Pediatric Intensivist

  • Jonathan Nuñez, MD - Infectious Disease

  • Ailyn Diaz, MD - Psychiatry

The recording has been uploaded to Microsoft Stream and you can access it here using your Penn State Health credentials.

The Origins of Hispanic Heritage Month

U.S. Congressmen Edward R. Roybal of Los Angeles and Henry B. Gonzales were among those who introduced legislation on the topic in 1968.  President Lyndon Johnson implemented the observance as Hispanic Heritage Week that year.

U.S. Rep. Esteban E. Torres of Pico Rivera proposed the observance be expanded to cover its current 30-day period. President Ronald Reagan implemented the expansion to Hispanic Heritage Month.  It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988.

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September 15th is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua, according to the U.S. Library of Congress.

In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16th and September 18th.

Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

To learn more, visit this link


La Cultura Hispana
(The Hispanic Culture)

As we approach the year 2045, it is projected that the current minority group will be the new majority and of this new majority, Hispanics will be the largest group.


The Hispanic culture is one of the most diverse in the United States. Even if you were born or your parents were born in Argentina, Panama, Dominican Republic, Mexico, or another country in Latin America, you would identify yourself as Hispanic. It is what characterizes us as countries that were conquered and colonized by Spain during the 15th to 18th centuries. However, this goes beyond the Spanish colonization. Although each country in Latin America has its own identity and culture; for example, unique foods, music, and traditions; there are certain characteristics that unite us as a Hispanic culture: the diversity of races, the family union, our language, and our religious practices. 



Hispanics are not comprised of one race, we have characteristics of different races. The mixture of Natives, Europeans, and Africans makes us a unique ethnic and diverse group.



The family unit includes not only our parents and children, but also our extended family and close friends. The Hispanic family stands out in the unity and unconditional support of other family members. Values and respect for our parents, grandparents, and ancestors unify our families.



Teaching the Spanish language to Hispanic children is an important practice in the Hispanic culture. However, the ability to speak Spanish and English is imperative for our children's education and future.



In our Hispanic community, faith plays a vital role in daily activities. Most Hispanics attend religious services frequently. Religious institutions like the Church have a great influence on our family, marriage, and community life. They are also places where we turn to seek help and support for families in difficult times.


Our Hispanic culture is one filled with rich history and unique traditions, which have in turn enriched the United States. Due to this mixture of cultures and the values instilled at a young age by our family nucleus - always keeping in mind the sacrifices our ancestors made to offer us a better life - the Hispanics of today, are making a difference in our communities and the world.


Thank you for visiting this website.  Make sure to come back from time to time as we are continuously updating information. 

(Gracias por visitar esta página web. Asegúrese de volver de vez en cuando, ya que estamos actualizando la información continuamente.)


Virtual Salsa DANCE Workshop 


September 16, 2021 at 7 PM


At this beginner friendly workshop participants learned the fundamentals of a basic Salsa 8 count, foot placement, and weight transfer.

Breast Cancer Awareness Race

¿Sabías? Hablemos de las Latinas y el cáncer de mama
(Let's talk about Latinas and breast cancer)  

September 21, 2021 at 6pm

This webinar in Spanish is part of the "Vamos a educarnos contra el cáncer” webinar series.  


Madeline Feliciano-Weiser talked about the recommendations for breast cancer detection, breast density, and the importance of genetic testing with respect to breast cancer.   Durante el seminario conocerá sobre las recomendaciones para la detección del cáncer de mama, comprenderá lo que es la densidad mamaria y las imágenes asociadas para las mamas densas, y la importancia de las pruebas genéticas con respecto al cáncer de mama.





On October 19th @6pm, Dr. Sarah Ines Ramirez will be speaking on Cervical Cancer.  Stay Tuned!


To watch previous webinars visit Penn State Cancer Institute's Hispanic/Latino Cancer Community Advisory Board webiste by clicking on this link.


See all of the events below!

Virtual Movie Night

September 23, 2021 at 7pm 

During this session a screening of Being Eñye, a documentary that explores Latino identity, was held.


To learn more about this film visit 


Interpreter Etiquette Lecture 

September 30, 2021 at 12pm

During this session, Dr. Jennifer Kraschnewski spoke on best practices for healthcare professionals working with medical interpreters.  This lecture also covered tips for maintaining empathy and engagement with patients who have Limited English Proficiency.

La Cocina Latina  

(the Latin Kitchen, Virtual Cooking Class)

October 5, 2021 at 6 PM

Join the HPA and LMSA for a virtual celebration of Hispanic culture through a cooking lesson. 


2021 Hispanic Heritage Month
Keynote Address with
Dr. David Hayes-Bautista

October 6, 2021 at 6pm

Learn about the mystery behind Latinx epidemiological outcomes.  


UCLA public health expert, Dr. David Hayes-Bautista, is Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Director of the Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture at the David Geffen School of Medicine, at UCLA.  Among many accolades, he is recipient of the “Association of American Medical Colleges Herbert W. Nickens Award for his lifelong work on the educational, societal, and health care needs of underrepresented groups.”  He will address the subject of Latinx public health, including his leading research on the Latino epidemiological paradox.

For additional events being hosted on the University Park Campus of Penn State University visit equity.psu.edu/hhm

Communicating with your Hispanic Patient    

How does the Latino culture deal with illness?


Explaining the Causes of Illness and Disease 

  • Your patient may see illness as an imbalance. The imbalance may be between internal and external sources (for example, hot and cold, natural vs. supernatural, the soul is separate from the body). - Ask your patient, “Can you tell me what caused your illness?”

  • There are folk-defined diseases such as empacho (stomach ailment) and standard western medically defined diseases such as measles, asthma, and TB.

  • Many patients seek medical care from curanderos or other folk healers. - Ask about use of pharmaceuticals or home therapies such as herbal remedies or certain foods. Screen for possible patient use of injectables, especially antibiotics or vitamins. Ask if you can see the home treatment if your patient cannot identify the substance.


Helping Your Patient Take an Active Role in Care and Recovery

  • Your patient may believe that God determines the outcome of illness. - Consider the impact religion will have in your patient’s active participation in health care recovery. You can validate your patient’s belief by asking, “Will God be served by taking the best care of yourself?”

  • The patient is seen as an innocent victim, and will be expected to be passive when ill. - Help your patient take an active role in his or her recovery.


Helping Your Patient Feel Comfortable 

  • Remember to find out if this is your patient’s first visit to the health systmem (hospital/clinic/etc) - Keep in mind that patients who are new to the system may not be aware of the different roles of the care team or the process for getting a referral to a specialist.


Understanding Concerns About Depression

  • Depression may not be seen as an illness. It is often seen as a weakness and an embarrassment to family. - Treat these issues with respect. You may want to also offer the services of a clergy member.

How are medical decisions made in the Latino culture? 

  • Often the mother determines when a family member requires medical care and the male head of the household gives permission to go to the medical center.

  • Head of household is the decision-maker, but important decisions often involve the whole family. The family spokesperson is usually the father or oldest male. - Ask your patient about whom they want to be included in medical decisions. If the patient does not want to make medical decisions for themselves, let them know they need to prepare a Durable Power of Attorney for health care. - When possible, engage the whole family in discussions that involve decisions about care.


Managing Medical News

  • The family would prefer to hear about bad medical news before the patient is informed. The family spokesperson usually delivers information about the severity of illness. The family may want to shield the patient from the bad news. - If your patient consents, meet with the identified persons to strategize how to communicate medical news.

  • La familia – the family – is an important source of emotional support during recovery. Patients like to be able to see and embrace their family members. - Be aware of the importance of this and consider extending visiting hours. Explain the visitation policy at the time the patient is admitted or before a surgery, so that the family knows what to expect.

  • The family may want to allow the patient to remain passive during recovery while they provide complete support for activities of daily living. - Educate family members about the importance of the patient’s active participation during recovery.

Excerpt from Culture Clues™: Communicating with Your Latino Patient Page 2 ©University of Washington Medical Center 12/1999 Rev. 04/2007 Gaining Family Support

Cancer Disparities in the Hispanic Culture
(Virtual Panel Discussion)

October 13, 2021 at 4pm



  • Sarah Inés Ramírez, MD, FAAFP - Family and Community Medicine 

  • Madeline Feliciano-Weiser, MSN, RN - Penn State Cancer Institute

  • William Calo, PhD, JD - Public Health Sciences

  • Sol M. Rodr​íguez, MS - Penn State Cancer Institute



HPA Members will discuss the social determinants of health and cancer disparities in Hispanic/Latinx populations and strategies for reducing such health disparities.

Dia de los Muertos
(Day of the Dead Festival)

November 3, 2021; 12pm - 1:30pm







Join the Penn State Health Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in a celebration and awareness event of the upcoming Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)!

This event is an opportunity to raise awareness about this festival and Latin American culture, as well as build an inclusive culture for our patients and employees with origins in these regions.

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10/12/21 at 12pm



Johanna Vidal-Phalen, MD, MBA, FAAP - Senior Medical Director-Pediatrics at   UPMC Insurance Division, General Pediatrician

Sarah Inés Ramirez, MD, FAAFP - Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine at PSH Hershey Medical Center



Moderated By:

Gisele Barreto Fetterman -Second Lady of PA

Natalia Ortiz, MD, FAPA, FAPM, FPCP -  Professor, Clinical Psychiatry and Behavioral Science, Lewis Katz School   of Medicine at Temple University; Medical Director, Consultation and   Liaison Psychiatry, Temple University   Hospital 



Hosted By:


PA Commission for Latino Affairs

This event will be entirely in Spanish

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Aprendamos Sobre el Cáncer del Cuello Uterino
(Lets Learn About Cervical Cancer)  

October 19, 2021 at 6pm

This webinar in Spanish is part of the "Vamos a educarnos contra el cáncer” webinar series.  


Sarah Inés Ramírez, MD will talk about importance of cervical cancer screening, the role of HPV vaccination in preventing cervical cancer, and culture specific considerations for cervical cancer disparities in Latinas living in the US.

Sarah Inés Ramírez, MD hablara sobre la importancia de la detección del cáncer de cuello uterino, el papel de la vacuna contra el VPH en la prevención del cáncer de cuello uterino y las consideraciones específicas de la cultura para las disparidades del cáncer de cuello uterino en las latinas que viven en los EE. UU.



To watch previous webinars visit Penn State Cancer Institute's Hispanic/Latino Cancer Community Advisory Board webiste by clicking on this link.



The Hispanic Professionals Association would like to thank Penn State Health's Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, the Penn State College of Medicine Latino Medical Student Association, and Penn State University for their support and collaboration to make this year's events possible.


Visit this link to see all upcoming diversity, equity and inclusion events.  

Happening Around US

Latino Hispanic American Community Center (LHACC) is hosting the 18th Annual Premier Harrisburg Hispanic Heritage Festival

September 18, 2021 from 10am to 3pm

Location: 13th and Derry Street, Harrisburg, PA


This event brought together the Harrisburg community to share and to learn about the Hispanic culture. Enjoy live music played by local bands, watch cultural dances, taste traditional and typical Hispanic food sold by vendors, and participate in an all-day raffle, as well as different activities, games, and fun for all children.  

2021 Pennsylvania Latino Convention (PALC) hosted by the city of Reading

September 29 - 30, 2021

Location: DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Reading

PALC is the only statewide Latino event pursuing an agenda that is policy-driven, research-based, and data-oriented to advance the social, cultural, political, economic and educational status of Pennsylvania’s residents of Latino descent.  Reading in 2021 is the Latino Capital of Pennsylvania with the largest percentage of its city residents of Latino/Hispanic ancestry. We celebrate Latino historic moments: Eddie Moran elected Mayor, Michael Rivera elected County Commissioner, Manuel Guzman elected State Representative.  

SAMRC 2nd Annual Multicultural (SAMRC) Festival

October 16, 2021

Location: Penn Park at 100 E. College Ave, York, PA 17401

There will be Live Music, Various DJs, Multicultural Entertainment, Crafts, Various Ethnic Foods, Health Education , Children’s Activities, and much more.  If you would like to volunteer, please email info@sacyork.org for more information. You can also visit this link for more information.  

Highmark Health Sponsored
Hispanic Heritage Month 

You are invited to join Highmark Health’s SALUD BRG for the 11th Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration honoring the contributions of Hispanics/Latinos in America, at Highmark Health, Our Blended Family, and in the communities served. 


If you are an employee at PSH and bilingual, PSH seeks your input.

Penn State Health seeks to identify employees who speak languages other than English with the ultimate goal of increasing the number of bilingual staff who can assist in our delivery of interpreter and translational services to patients. Based on the information received, we will identify a select group of clinical and non-clinical positions that can provide interpreter and translational services as part of their daily work responsibilities.  Incorporation of this type of staffing model gives employees the opportunity to utilize their language skills in the care environment.  

Your assistance would be greatly appreciated in completing a brief 13-question survey no later than September 30, 2021.  This survey should take approximately 5 minutes to complete.  

The survey can be accessed via this link.


About US


Asociación de Profesionales Hispanos


The Hispanic Professionals Association (HPA)

“Unidos Por Una Causa en Comun!”​

(United For a Common Cause)​

Misión (Mission):

  • HPA is committed to promoting recruitment and retention of Hispanic Professionals by providing a supportive environment through a safe space of networking, sponsorship, mentorship, professional development, opportunities for leadership, and allyship.​

    (HPA se compromete a promover el reclutamiento y la retención de profesionales hispanos al proporcionar un entorno de apoyo a través de un espacio seguro de contactos, patrocinio,  tutoría, desarrollo profesional, oportunidades de liderazgo y alianzas).​


  • HPA is further committed to developing partnerships within Pennsylvania’s Hispanic communities that align with stakeholders through patient centered community engagement.

    (HPA está además comprometida con el desarrollo de asociaciones dentro de las comunidades hispanas de Pensilvania que se alineen con las partes interesadas a través de la participación ​comunitaria centrada en el paciente.


Meet the Board: 

  • Chair: Sarah Ines Ramirez

  • Vice Chairs: Ailyn Diaz and Sol De Jesus

  • Secretary/Marketing Chair: Natalia Benavidez Moreno

  • Health Equity Chair: William Calo

  • Professional Development Chair: David Rabago

  • Outreach Coordinators: Sheryll Valentine, Sol M. Rodriguez, Ana Pagan