The Navajo Nation patrol car pulled up to the jail near the center of town and Officer Carolyn Tallsalt stepped out. She adjusted her surgical mask, pressing the edges so they sealed against her cheeks, then flung open the door to the back seat where there was a woman in handcuffs.
A jail guard proceeded to pepper the woman, arrested for disturbing the peace, with questions.
Have you been in contact with anyone known to have coronavirus? Have you contracted the virus yourself? Do you have a fever or body aches?
“No, no, no,” the mask-less woman mumbled, before coughing twice into the open air. Tallsalt stepped back.
The guard placed a temperature gun to the woman’s forehead — 95.8, a few degrees lower than the average body temperature. Cleared to go inside, the woman walked to the side entrance, escorted by Tallsalt. That routine process, which Tallsalt has performed countless times in a nearly 20-year career, carries a stressful new weight during the COVID-19 outbreak. At the start of each shift, she thinks the same thing: I hope I am not exposed today.
More than a dozen fellow Navajo Nation officers have contracted the virus along with thousands of residents of the sprawling reservation.
“My anxiety is out of control,” Tallsalt, 53, said on a recent afternoon. “You don’t know who has it.”
Since mid-March, when the novel coronavirus began to spread like a brush fire on the dry, remote 27,000-square-mile reservation, daily patrols for the nearly 200 Navajo Nation officers have transformed into an exhausting mix of stress and overwhelming sadness.
Here on the Navajo Nation — spanning portions of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah — nearly everyone knows at least one victim of the deadly virus.
The Latino community has been standing in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. LULAC Chief Executive Officer Sindy M. Benavides and UnidosUS Senior Vice President of Policy and Advocacy Eric Rodriguez shared their thoughts with HISPANIC Network Magazine (HNM) on the Black Lives Matter movement, Latinos’ participation, and the changes they hope to see.
HNM: What were your thoughts when you first heard what happened to George Floyd?
Benavides: Horrified, deeply saddened, but unfortunately not surprised to learn that yet another criminal cop had taken the life of a person of color. America is built upon systemic oppression and discrimination, systems that activists have tried to bring to light and fight against for decades. When we heard of what happened to George Floyd, and when we watched the video of police officers watching their colleague murder a man and refuse to stop him, we were distraught over the state of the police force and the loss of life. We share our thoughts and prayers with George Floyd’s family, as well as the family and communities of Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Andres Guardado, Carlos Ingram-Lopez, Erik Salgado, and the hundreds of others who have lost their lives to a discriminatory policing system.
Rodriguez: I was horrified and shocked by George Floyd’s murder. Police killings of unarmed minorities is not a new story, and anyone who is Black or Brown is likely familiar with the type of racial profiling and hyper aggression by law enforcement that played out in that episode. But this incident transpired in daylight, surrounded by people filming it on their smart phones, and with other police officers standing by watching while a handcuffed Black man on the ground is slowly incapacitated and ultimately killed by an officer before their eyes. That’s something most Americans do not see every day.
HNM: What are your thoughts on the policy changes happening? Do you feel they are affecting genuine and lasting change?
Benavides: We need to urgently implement policy changes at the local and national level to dismantle police brutality. LULAC fully believes that these changes, combined with the work of thousands of activists, can help enact lasting change in this deeply flawed society. Policy initiatives like the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act are a good start in the long battle of eradicating policy brutality and addressing the variety of issues that take the lives of our Black community in this country. This is a good start, but much more needs to happen both at the federal and local levels for true change to be achieved. We have also joined efforts by progressive allies such as the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and support the following federal reforms:
Prohibit racial profiling with robust data collection on police-community encounters and law enforcement activities. Data should capture all demographic categories and be disaggregated.
Prohibit all maneuvers that restrict the flow of blood or oxygen to the brain, including neck holds, chokeholds, and similar excessive force, deeming the use of such force a federal civil rights violation.
Require a federal standard that use of force be reserved for only when necessary as a last resort after exhausting reasonable options, and incentivize states to implement this standard; require the use of de-escalation techniques, and the duty to intervene; ban the use of force as a punitive measure or means of retaliation against individuals who only verbally confront officers, or against individuals who pose a danger only to themselves; and require all officers to accurately report all uses of force.
Prohibit the use of no-knock warrants, especially for drug searches.
Rodriguez: The demonstrations and protests have opened up the possibility for real social change. The death of George Floyd, and other recent incidents of racism caught on video, has also helped to open the eyes of many Americans about the many ways that racism shows up in our society. One result is the cross-racial solidarity we have witnessed among the protesters and the advocates calling for change. Another result is the heightened consciousness we see on display across the country. For instance, the historical symbols of racism and prejudice in America are now under intense public scrutiny. Many more Americans seem ready to acknowledge that the heroes and flags of the Confederacy belong in American history books and museums rather than displayed and honored in public places, or on government buildings or civic institutions. And in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, how many more Americans today know what Juneteenth is?
Despite this, when it comes to public policy, I am less hopeful. There are few examples in our history when widespread justice for racial and ethnic minorities transpired absent a strong federal role. The power of the federal government has in most cases been necessary to break up the culture and practice of racism that fossilized in cities, states, and within our institutions.
Yet, we certainly cannot stop fighting for change in political leadership and federal laws. Our CEO and President Janet Murguía contributed to President Obama’s 21st Century Policing Task Force, which identified recommendations for local and state authorities that included community policing and accountability measures. We also support policy changes working their way through Congress, and there is a good chance that some cities will be able to put in place some new practices that can help. Finally, UnidosUS is registering, educating and mobilizing voters this fall in what stands to be a pivotal election.
HNM: How have Latinos stood in solidarity with the Black lives matter movement?
Benavides: Police brutality is an issue that affects both Black and Brown communities. Something that is often missed is that under the ethnicity of Hispanic, we have members who identify as Black, who may be Afro-Latino, or mixed. That is why many Latino organizations and Latino leaders have come out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, including LULAC. We are also working with our councils to ensure they also have the tools to work with their local elected to implement local reforms. LULAC has also created a microsite on our website to make sure that we are providing resources and information to the Latino community on how it can support the Black Lives Movement.
Rodriguez: Latinos are speaking out, protesting and marching, joining advocacy efforts to push for needed policy changes and encouraging self-reflection about how anti-Black racism and colorism shows up within the Latino community. The Latino community, which is about 58 million strong, has also felt the blows of prejudice and inequality. Nearly 25 percent of Latinos identify as Afro-Latino and experience both racial and ethnic discrimination in their daily lives.
The same unchecked police power that has taken the lives of Black Americans is used to separate our families, put children in cages and racially profile us. This broken system has led too many Latinos to fear law enforcement, with deadly consequences—as in the tragic cases of Andres Guardado in Los Angeles and Carlos Adrian Ingram-Lopez in Tucson.
So, our solidarity with the Black community is rooted in the shared lived experience of facing racism and oppression that harms all communities. Most Latinos do not just empathize with the experience of Black Americans who are abused and targeted by police, but they also identify with that experience.
HNM: How has the Black Lives Matter impacted the Hispanic community?
Benavides: Black Lives Matter has shown the power of sustained grassroots organizing, a great model for the Latino community to follow. We have learned that change takes time and this moment has been 400+ years in the making. Most importantly, we know that their success is our success and that it will benefit all communities who are targeted and marginalized. And, in this process, BLM has spurred a national conversation among Latinos around anti-blackness. It has forced us to look into the mirror and acknowledge our own shortcomings. I think this is a valuable conversation that is sorely needed and we have and continue to learn from it.
Rodriguez: The Black Lives Matter movement has brought necessary attention to the pervasiveness of police abuse and bias that results in the death of Black Americans and the lack of accountability and injustice that follows. The movement has given many Latinos, who have also been harmed, aggrieved or offended by police practices, a voice and a means of expressing their frustration in a way that advances social change. The movement has sparked needed conversations that can push state and local governments to reinvest in their communities in a way that enhances public safety while helping residents thrive economically and socially.
HNM: How can Latinos participate in this movement?
Benavides: Latinx people can participate in the movement by being physically present in support of this movement. And using our voices to practice proper allyship in this time of need and centering Black voices in everything you do. Acknowledge your privileges and make an effort to learn about the Black Lives Matter experience. We encourage everybody in our Latinx community to use their voices for good and support Black voices in all of their actions. ‘Tu lucha es mi lucha’ should ring true to our hearts as we strive to build a more inclusive democracy where all of us are equal and treated equally in all aspects of society.
Rodriguez: Latinos have long been in the fight to end systemic racism and discrimination that manifests across our society and filters through the private sector and our government systems. Eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in health, housing, education, and voting through the courts or Congress have been important ways to tackle structural racism.
Right now, the Congress is debating police reforms. Latinos can call their senators and demand that Leader McConnell bring the Justice in Policing Act to a vote. They can call members of Congress and demand annual congressional oversight hearings to review the status of the implementation of the Death in Custody Reporting Act to compel the collection, reporting, and analysis of all deaths, by race and gender, that occur in law enforcement custody.
Those who are moved to organize and express their concerns about the status quo can do many other things, such as join peaceful marches and protests, demand accountability from political leaders, fight for policy changes at the local level and support and donate to organizations at the forefront of the fight, like Black Lives Matter, NAACP, Color of Change, UndocuBlack, RaceForward and many others.
Latinos can contact their police departments, city council and/or Attorneys General and demand meaningful investigations and prosecutions of incidents involving abuse of force against racial and ethnic minorities. They can vote with these concerns in mind.
And most of all, for those Latinos who, upon self-reflection, recognize that they have been too silent and accepting of anti-Blackness within their circle of family, friends, neighbors and co-workers, it is time to take responsibility and act. If we are to dismantle systemic factors that enable the scourge of anti-Blackness, colorism and race-based violence to grow, we must start by healing ourselves and preparing for the hard work and courageous conversations ahead.
For many people in the LGBTQ+ community, the gender question, asked in every type of official form, can be an unpleasant experience. Those who identify as non-binary, genderfluid, or a gender that isn’t simply “male” or “female” can find this question daunting, as it forces them to identify themselves in a category in which they feel neither apply.
For the 2020 Census, the only options to choose from are “Male” and “Female,” with no write-in third option or even a box that says, “Other.” This has led many people in the LGBTQ+ community to not feel properly represented and discourages them from filling out the census altogether. For the next census, set to go out in 2030, the goal is to include the LGBTQ+ community in a much more effective way.
However, even though the gender question has been deemed as undesirable, it is still imperative that LGBTQ+ people fill out this year’s census, as it does more than just count the population.
The results of the Census determine how much money will go into federal funding for state programs. For every person who is not included in the Census, an estimated $2000 is lost to programs that exist to serve some of the biggest needs in the LGBTQ+ community. In 2015, $175 million in funding from the Census was distributed to the Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS program, while another $383 billion went to food stamps and Medicaid.
According to the Center for American Progress, people in the LGBTQ+ community were found to be more likely to depend on these programs, specifically food stamps, than those who did not identify as LGBTQ+.
Though many believe that the questions on the Census should be more inclusive to the lives of LGBTQ+ people and the advocacy for these issues is still going strong, filling out the Census information will contribute a little more money to the government programs that will be helping the community for the next decade.
“Raise your right hand.” Judge Marilyn Milian bangs the gavel on the bench of the multiple Emmy award-winning The People’s Court. When asked how long she will continue to preside over The People’s Court, Milian responds, laughing, “when they pry my cold white knuckles off the gavel.” Milian continues to resolve complex cases with compassion while offering sound legal knowledge to all of the litigants that appear before her. Milian’s advice to litigants: “Social media is a valuable courtroom tool. Posts, tweets and photos can be used as evidence to prove your case, so don’t get rid of them! And remember, say it, forget it, write it, regret it!”
Judge Milian is honored to be the first Latina Judge to host a nationally syndicated television court show. In the courtroom, Milian often uses wisdom inspired by her Cuban mother and grandmother when addressing litigants. Milian proudly admits she gets her feistiness from her mother and her drive from her father.
Originally from Queens, NY, Milian moved to Miami with her family when she was eight years old. Milian received her undergraduate degree at the University of Miami, where she graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 grade average. She then attended Georgetown Law School, where she earned her law degree and graduated cum laude at age 23.
Milian spent a year working at Harvard Law School, where she served as director of training for the Guatemala Project. She was responsible for training the Guatemalan trial judiciary, defense and prosecution bar in investigatory and trial techniques.
Judge Milian is well known for her dedication to the Hispanic community and a strong voice against domestic violence.
HISPANIC Network Magazine (HNM) caught up with Judge Milian about her career.
HNM: What has your experience been like on The People’s Court?
Judge Milian: Incredible! What can be better than presiding over wild cases hand selected throughout the country by expert hand-selectors (our producers)? Twenty years later, I still get excited when I read the first sentence in the first complaint in a stack of complaints when I am preparing! And the people I work with are fabulous—they have become friends.
What has been your most memorable experience on the show?
Three months after I started back in 2001, I found out I was pregnant with my third daughter. Television has a rhythm—you tape during the year, and you are “dark” or on hiatus during the
summer. My family planning had no such rhythm! So almost right out of the box, everyone had to work together and change their summer plans, and work through the summer so I could have those two months off with the baby when she came. As it turns out, it was only a month and a half, because my baby also didn’t respect television’s rhythm—and she accompanied me during the following four months to work in New York City, since I was her food source! My producer surprised me by turning my bailiff’s dressing room into a temporary nursery. Not only did Douglas not mind; he never moved back. That’s what I mean when I say it’s a fabulous environment.
What do you love most about your job?
I love being able to bring justice to people who desperately seek it. These problems may be small claims, but to our litigants, it’s probably the one time in their lives they will seek the intervention of the courts. I feel the weight of that every day, that their entire sense of justice will depend on how I treat and teach them—win or lose.
What inspired you to pursue law?
The same thing that is inspiring my daughters. I have three girls—the first is attending Georgetown Law School, the second was admitted for next year, and the third? Well that one is still in formation; she is a senior in high school, and the world is her oyster. What inspires us? The Cuban women in this family NEVER met an argument they didn’t love, or an injustice that didn’t need their personal attention!
What advice would you give others who want to pursue a career in law?
A career in the Law is one of the most fulfilling professions anyone can pursue. All around us in our daily lives, we see injustices committed against others. My legal degree affords me an opportunity to right the wrongs I see, not only in the courtroom but also in business, and even in our community. A legal degree teaches you to think analytically, strive toward compromise and accurately assess the legal ramifications of decisions to choose the best path.
In Early May, the Village of Gambier, in Knox County, Ohio, made history when they passed their county’s first ever LGBTQ anti-discrimination legislation. The village’s council met the night of May 4 via a Zoom Call and passed the law unanimously.
The legislation was passed specifically with the LGBTQ+ community in mind, including people of differing sexual orientations and gender identities to be included in protections from workplace, housing, and public commodity discrimination. The law will be put into effect immediately, with the hopes of not only better protecting people in the LGBTQ+ community in the Village of Gambier but to also encourage the passing of the Ohio Fairness Act.
The Ohio Fairness Act is essentially a much wider spread version of what Gambier passed earlier this month. The Act is set to include the LGBTQ+ community in discrimination protection in the same areas. Though the Ohio Fairness Act has been widely supported by many local fronts, it has yet to pass through the House and the Senate.
In an effort to further push the bill into becoming a law, Gambier’s mayor, Leeman Kessler stated that he wished to join arms with other local communities working to protect LGBTQ+ communities. He believes that as more and more businesses stand together in protecting the LGBTQ+ community, the more it will encourage others to do the same, including those passing the Ohio Fairness Act.
“It puts these protections in place explicitly,” Kessler stated of the new local law, “so folks aren’t left in a legal gray area.”
As global citizens prepare to fight against the current COVID-19 pandemic, I have been inspired by the individual stories of the women-owned businesses in the WEConnect International community and the resilience of my team and our supporters around the world.
As the CEO of a global nonprofit, I’m used to spending my life in airports and airplanes flying to meetings, speaking at conferences and meeting with our member buyers and the women business owners who supply a wide assortment of goods and services. But my intense travel schedule has ground to a halt as meetings have been canceled or postponed.
Earlier this month, I was fortunate to be at our WEConnect International South Africa Conference, Scaling Up in 2020 for Sustainable Growth, in Johannesburg. I met several exceptional women business owners and large buyers committed to inclusion.
Many are stepping up to help us all face the coronavirus challenge, like Refilwe Sebothoma, whose company, PBM Group, is supplying face masks. Belukazi Nkala, who owns Khanyile Solutions, is providing protective uniforms. And Judy Sunasky’s company, Blendwell Chemicals, is producing hand sanitizer.
In Singapore, Rithika Gupta is also increasing hand sanitizer production at her company, FP Aromatics, as is Sarah Sayed’s company, BX Merchandise, in the UK. WEConnect International educates and certifies women’s business enterprises based in over 45 countries, and women business owners such as these have registered with us in over 120 countries.
There are approximately 224 million women entrepreneurs worldwide who participate in the ownership of nearly 35 percent of firms in the formal economy. As traditional value chains shift, these business owners can step in to meet buyer demand.
Here in Washington, D.C., the WEConnect International Team has decided to hold our annual Gala and Symposium virtually. This is not a cancellation or a postponement but rather an opportunity for champions of diversity to leverage technology in support of inclusive global growth.
We are committed to creating opportunity in the face of adversity and have engaged our award winners, member buyers, women-owned businesses and strategic partners to join us for our first-ever 24-hour Cyber Gala culminating with the announcement of our Top 10 Global Champions.
Governments are taking the pandemic seriously and are working hard to protect their citizens through social distancing, while meeting the needs of those who fall sick. In addition to the human suffering, the virus has hurt domestic and international business. As a result, governments and business are working together to diversify supply chains to help mitigate future shocks to local and global economies.
While living in isolation may be a new experience for many of us, this experience is part of the basic training for those who desire to become astronauts. Astronauts are required to learn how to manage loneliness and anxiety, all while being separated from the rest of society in a small space.
But before astronauts even step foot in the rocket for their next mission, they are required to self-isolate as to not get sick when they deploy for the stars.
Of isolation in NASA, former astronaut Jose Hernandez told NBC, “We live in isolation for more than a month, and even before that you have to do a lot of exerciseswith your team to prepare.”
Here are Hernandez’s top three tips on how to best handle isolation and separation from society:
1) Communicate and Establish Routines
Much like the teams of astronauts that are forced to be in the same space for a long period of time, families are being forced to spend a lot more time with each other at home. But for some, spending too much time with the same people can become difficult. At NASA, astronauts go through a procedure in which they are required to give instructions, have the instructions repeated back to them, and evaluate what is reasonable in the requests given. This method of careful and thoughtful communication can also be used at home when trying to express your concerns with other members of your household. Routines, Hernandez suggests, are also vital—even when there is nothing on the agenda for the day—as routines help to establish accomplishments.
2) Reach Out Digitally
Being out in space makes a quick visit to friends and family impossible. During a time of not being able to visit those we are not quarantining ourselves with, the effects of loneliness can become harsh on someone who is not used to being away from human interaction. Hernandez suggests reaching out to the people you care about digitally. While in space, Hernandez used to video call his family and show them how he would eat M&Ms in zero gravity. Hernandez uses video calling during the pandemic as well to talk to his parents who are isolated from him.
3) Stay Positive
To cope with loneliness while in space, Hernandez was trained to look at his time in space with a positive attitude. When days were hard for Hernandez, he would remember he was one of the lucky few who was trained and chosen to do the kind of work he did.
When days are hard for us, we can think of how grateful we are to be in a place of safety and health during a time when many are not. It may not make the immediate situation better, but staying positive can help to ease stress and decrease anxiety.
There is a lot to be learned on how to handle this new normal, but following these tips can help us make it through.
Minority populations, including the LGBTQ+ community, have shown to be more at risk of contracting and suffering the consequences of COVID-19 due to the continually changing economic, social, and healthcare issues.
In an ongoing effort to support the LGBTQ+ community, Toyota has partnered up with several nonprofit organizations to help with the medical and personal needs of the community during the pandemic. A total of $275,000 donated from Toyota will be distributed among LGBTQ+ organizations in need of funding for critical situations, and an additional $25,000 is being awarded to other foundations that serve as a support system for those in the community.
Organizations that will be receiving funding include the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and the Los Angeles LGBT Center, and it provides health services, housing for homeless teens in the community, and wellness checks to older adults. This money will be especially critical to keeping the organization running, as many of its most important fundraising events had to be canceled due to the virus.
Toyota is also donating protective face shields to the Los Angeles LGBT Center to keep workers safe.
Additionally, Toyota is continuing its ongoing support for many of the organizations that are helping to fight the effects of the virus, such as the Dallas Resource Center, the Point Foundation, the Human Rights Campaign Foundation and the Trevor Project.
By Congresswoman Allyson Y. Schwartz and Dr. Elena Rios
The recent coronavirus outbreak has millions of Americans thinking carefully about their health and wellness. For the 37 million of our friends and neighbors battling chronic kidney disease, however, health care risks that the rest of us often take for granted are never far from their mind.
Every year, 124,000 patients with kidney disease see their condition progress to end-stage renal disease (ESRD), also known as kidney failure and will require dialysis at least three times per week to survive.
Hannah, an ESRD patient in Henrico, Virginia, describes dialysis as “the most painful thing, physically and emotionally, I’ve had to endure.”
As a physician who represents medical providers in the Hispanic community – a demographic disproportionately impacted by kidney disease (Rios) – and a former lawmaker who worked to reduce the uninsured rate and improve quality of care (Schwartz), we know that stories like Hannah’s are all too common.
These individuals are looking to us to be their advocate and to join them in the cause of working toward a day when the burden of kidney disease is lifted and ESRD can claim precious lives no more.
In 2016, Congress took an important step in this direction with the bipartisan passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, making a $6.3 billion investment in medical innovations that can bring healing to the most devastating of diseases.
Included in the bill was a provision expanding ESRD patients’ options for Medicare coverage. Previous law prohibited these patients from becoming new enrollees in Medicare Advantage – the managed-care option in Medicare where 24.4 million Americans receive coverage – the Cures law removed this barrier.
As of January 2021, ESRD patients will have the choice to enroll in Medicare Advantage. For many patients, this opportunity brings hope of a better way to manage their condition.
Medicare Advantage offers an annual limit on beneficiaries’ out-of-pocket expenses – leading to savings of roughly $1,600 a year compared to Traditional Medicare – and reports a 33 percent lower rate of emergency room visits among those with chronic conditions. In a study involving a clinically complex cohort of patients with diabetes, hypertension and cardiac disease, conditions associated with ESRD, Medicare Advantage beneficiaries had a 73 percent lower rate of serious complications than those in Traditional Medicare.
This is promising news for patients, but a looming hurdle remains.
As plans and providers anticipate a switch for some ESRD patients to Medicare Advantage next year, an independent study warns that payment from the government to Medicare Advantage for ESRD patients in highly populated regions “may be significantly below actual patient costs.”
Patients with kidney failure have unique and complex health care needs, leading to yearly costs to the Medicare system of $90,000 per patient for those on dialysis. A failure to give Medicare Advantage the tools to meet these needs makes hurts patients and would cause particular harm to Hispanic and African American communities, which comprise an outsized share of the ESRD population.
Stakeholders ranging from the National Black Nurses Association, to Population Health Alliance, to Consumer Action have joined the effort to protect patients by pushing regulators to address this inequity.
Right now, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is finalizing plans for its annual rate announcement and proposed rule – vehicles through which the administration can make any number of payment and policy changes to Medicare Advantage.
This process is the agency’s opportunity to stand on the side of ESRD patients by updating its payment methodology for these beneficiaries to ensure a successful transition of care for those with ESRD.
While we strive for more permanent solutions to end the harm of kidney disease once and for all, there’s no time like right now – National Kidney Month – for policymakers to stand up and protect ESRD patients’ health care.
Allyson Y. Schwartz is the President and CEO of the Better Medicare Alliance. She represented Pennsylvania in the U.S. House of Representatives from 2005 to 2015.
Elena Rios, MD, MSPH is the president and CEO of the National Hispanic Medical Association.
It’s hard to ignore the healthcare field if you’re searching for a stable career. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the healthcare field is expected to add 2.4 million new jobs from 2016 to 2026—which is more than any other occupational group!
There’s no denying that there are plenty of opportunities waiting for you in healthcare. But what if you don’t see yourself working in direct patient care? Luckily you don’t have to work in a clinical setting to take advantage of a career in the booming healthcare industry.
The healthcare field revolves around caring for people, but it takes more than just doctors and nurses to make it happen. High-quality healthcare gets plenty of support from non-clinical workers who take care of administrative tasks, coordinate care efforts, manage technology and more.
These non-clinical healthcare occupations are a valued part of the medical field and play an important part in keeping the healthcare industry running smoothly. Explore these non-clinical healthcare career descriptions to find the one that’s the best fit for you.
In a sense, medical coders are the translators of the healthcare industry. They convert patients’ medical records and physicians’ notes into specially designed codes so insurance companies can accurately bill for the services patients receive. Because these healthcare professionals have access to sensitive patient information, they also need to be well-versed in government regulations surrounding healthcare privacy and electronic health records.
This role may sound simple, but it keeps a healthcare provider’s financial records in tip-top shape.
Health information technician
Technology is changing the way the healthcare industry works, especially where electronic health records (EHRs) are involved. Health information technicians (HITs) ensure that a patient’s EHRs are accurate and secure. They also analyze data on patient outcomes.
Like medical coders, HIT professionals are expected to stay current with regulations about patient privacy.
Healthcare managers oversee the day-to-day operations of a medical department. They set and monitor budgets, train new staff members to their team and look for ways to increase efficiency and quality of care.
Healthcare managers set the tone for their department and their team, so their leadership influences every patient who walks through a facility’s doors.
Medical administrative assistants
Medical administrative assistants, sometimes called medical secretaries, are often the smiling faces you see when you first enter a medical facility. These administrative experts greet patients and provide customer service, schedule appointments, enter insurance information and work with patient billing.
Medical administrative assistants keep a healthcare facility running smoothly behind the scenes, and they make patients feel welcome and cared for.
Healthcare administrators are the leaders of their medical facility. They set financial goals for their facility, create policies that benefit patient care and ensure that their facility stays in compliance with healthcare regulations.
Healthcare administrators might seem far removed from patient care, but their work directly impacts the quality of care a facility is able to provide.
Community health worker
Community health workers focus on improving the well-being of the people in a particular area or region. Their tasks include educating community members on important health issues, reaching out to at-risk populations to improve their health and assisting with disaster preparedness. These healthcare workers are in the unique position to impact individuals’ general well-being on a large scale.
Human service assistants
Human service assistants work with patients to help them arrange the medical care and other services they need. Their work varies depending on the population they serve. Human service assistants who focus on the elderly might help patients arrange transportation to the doctor, set up a meal delivery service or navigate Medicare. Those who work with people with disabilities might help them arrange personal care services or find a job that accommodates their disability.
Human service assistants spend their days making it easier for patients to navigate a complex healthcare system so they can live their lives to the fullest.
Corporate wellness coordinator
Corporate wellness coordinators work at the intersection of healthcare and business. These healthcare pros bring wellness programs to corporations to help their employees improve their overall health—which in turn gives a boost to the company’s bottom line. They often run fitness initiatives and evaluate individuals for health risks.
This healthcare career puts the spotlight on wellness so individuals can be aware of their risk factors and take control of their health.
It can be easy for patients to feel overwhelmed in a medical setting, especially if they’re experiencing health issues. Patient advocates help bridge this gap by explaining medical terms and procedures to patients, ensuring they have access to the treatments they need and helping them understand their treatment plan. Patient advocates also communicate a patient’s concerns to doctors or nurses.
Patient advocates dedicate themselves to making sure patients feel heard. They’re the ones patients can turn to if they need support and aren’t sure what to do.
When 18-year old Javier Larragoiti was told his father had been diagnosed with diabetes, the young man, who had just started studying chemical engineering at college in Mexico City, decided to dedicate his studies to finding a safe, sugar-alternative for his father.
“My dad tried to use stevia and sucralose, just hated the taste, and kept cheating on his diet,” Larragoiti told The Guardian. Stevia and sucralose are both popular sugar alternatives, and many reduced-sugar products available today contain one or the other.
With stevia and sucralose out of the picture, the young chemist needed to keep searching. He started dabbling with xylitol, a sweet-tasting alcohol found in birch wood but also in many fruits and vegetables. Xylitol is used in sugar-free products such as chewing gum and also in children’s medicine, but is toxic to dogs even in small amounts.
“It has so many good properties for human health, and the same flavor as sugar, but the problem was that producing it was so expensive,” said Larragoiti. “So I decided to start working on a cheaper process to make it accessible to everyone.”
Xylitol Made Cheaper
Corn is Mexico’s largest agricultural crop, and Javier has now patented a method of extracting xylitol from discarded corn cobs. Best of all, with 28 million metric tons of corn cobs generated every year in Mexico as waste, there’s no shortage of xylitol-generating fuel.
Simultaneously, Larragoiti hit on the idea of how to make xylitol less expensive, while inventing a way to reuse the 28 million tons of corn cobs, substantially upgrading the traditional means of disposal: burning them.
Especially in a pollution-heavy country like Mexico, reducing the amount of corn waste burned, would eliminate a portion of the carbon emissions.
His business, Xilinat, buys waste from 13 local farmers, producing 1 ton of the product each year. His invention was awarded a prestigious $310,000 Chivas Venture prize award, which will enable him to industrialize his operation and scale up production 10-fold, diverting another 10 tons of corn cob from the furnace.