The number of Latinos involved with political, educational and health care decisions is declining, even as a new UCLA study found that Latinos are the fastest growing ethnic group in the nation. The U.S. doesn’t have enough Latino doctors, and this might be the reason for the recent studies finding that Latinos are the racial and ethnic group least likely to visit the doctor.
Marcela Diaz-Myers, born and raised in Bogota, Colombia and a graduate of Corpas University School of Medicine, thinks these things need to change. As the former director of office of practice transformation and innovation for the PA Department of Health, her office was in charge of finding ways to improve the health care system.
One of her initiatives was to make a change on the payment methodologies and change it to a payment for performance. If your doctor or health care provider wasn’t performing his or her duties as well as they could, their pay would reflect that. That gives the doctor incentive to provide the best care possible to everyone they treat.
She also worked extensively on the role of the patient in the health care system, and what patient obligations and responsibilities are. According to Diaz-Myers, there is a huge educational component in this area, and it is so true for the Latino population. It is critical that the Latino community gain more knowledge of the health care system, and that way, they can navigate it more easily and understand the importance of knowing the responsibilities as patients.
Diaz-Myers has also been a school board member for the Lower Dauphin School District for the past 12 years and recently won the primary election for another term. She is a past president for the Pennsylvania School Boards Association, and during her tenure, she led the board in bringing in the new executive director. She spent seven years on the leadership team of PSBA.
Diaz-Myers cannot stress enough the importance of education. Education is absolutely critical, she says. It is the part of a person that can never be taken away. You can lose all your material possessions, but your education will always be part of you. Education is a conduit to getting out of poverty, but our educational system cannot and should not be the place to fix poverty and social issues, she says.
Diaz-Myers further mentions that the Latino community must educate themselves on the political process and the value of the vote they have.
She is the chair of the PA GOP Hispanic Advisory Council, which is part of a national effort to welcome minorities to the GOP.
While being involved in so many activities, Diaz-Myers still finds time to enjoy high school sports, particularly those involving Lower Dauphin, being active and enjoying her time with her husband and two grown children.