Latino Health Task Force

The NCIOM Latino Health Task Force reviewed the major health and health care problems facing the NC Latino community, and identified public and private sector initiatives that can be undertaken to address these concerns. In addition to recommendations about expanding the availability of bilingual and bicultural providers, the Task Force made recommendations to expand the availability of primary, behavioral health, and dental resources; remove barriers that deter families from applying for Medicaid, NC Health Choice, and other publicly funded programs; provide meaningful workers' compensation for migrant and seasonal farmworkers; develop leadership within the Latino community to address health issues; address the problems of health literacy, including the lack of understanding of the US health system; and ensure that the state has adequate data to monitor health disparities and health access of the Latinos living and working in the state. This Task Force was a partnership between the NCIOM and El Pueblo, and was supported by The Duke Endowment and Kate B, Reynolds Charitable Trust.

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Task Force Leadership

All Members


Mary Easley

Former First Lady of North Carolina


Carmen Hooker Odom

Former Secretary

North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

Felix Sabates


FSS Holdings, Inc.


In April 2002, the NCIOM, in partnership with El Pueblo, a statewide policy and advocacy organization, convened the Latino Health Task Force to study and address Latino health issues in North Carolina. Latinos comprise the most rapidly growing minority in our state: Between 1990 and 2000, this segment of the population grew by nearly 400%. Though they are 5% of our population and contribute significantly to North Carolina’s economy, Latinos are medically underserved.

Previous studies have shown that the most common barriers to health care access are language barriers, lack of health insurance coverage, and lack of transportation. The Latino Health Task Force was charged with examining these and other barriers and with exploring comprehensive public policy options to overcome the barriers.

The objectives of the task force were:

1. To develop a consensus on the major health problems facing the Latino community. The task force studied, among other things, access to publicly-funded health services (including public health, community and migrant health centers, and area mental health programs), public and private health insurance coverage, cultural and language barriers, dental services, occupational health issues, and specific health problems that disproportionately impact Latinos.

2. To identify whether regional variations exist in the capacity of local communities to address Latino health issues.

3. To identify and disseminate “best practices” —local, statewide, or national initiatives that have been successful in improving health for Latinos.

4. To identify public and private initiatives that can be undertaken to address these concerns.