California needs more Latino doctors to care for patients, according to a survey by Latino Physicians of California. Latinos account for 5 percent of all doctors in the state.
Dr. Sergio Aguilar-Gaxiola is vice chair of Latino Physicians of California. He says culture and language play a key role in serving the state's Latinos.
"Not too many Latinos apply and get accepted into medical school," Aguilar-Gaxiola said. "And therefore very particular efforts to increase the pipeline since they are in high school, even in middle school to reassure them or empower them that they can aspire."
Latinos represented approximately 9 percent of enrollees accepted into medical schools in California.
The three-year study recommends creating partnerships with K-12 schools, community colleges and universities to develop a career pipeline for Latino students interested in the medical field.
"We are hoping to address some disparities in terms of what the Latino population is facing in terms of access to care, utilization of services, and also the quality of care that they receive."
Heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes account for over 54 percent of all Latino deaths in California, a far higher rate compared to whites in the state.
California ranks last in Latino-doctor-to-patient ratio.