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October 2

Bilingual Care

UW Medicine opens Latinx diabetes clinic in South Lake Union.

According to the World Health Organization, people with diabetes are among the top groups who are most sensitive to COVID-19 symptoms. Dr. Lorena Alarcon-Casas Wright, director of a new UW Medicine Latinx diabetes clinic, explained the disease disproportionately affects Latinos —they are more susceptible to diabetes at a younger age and are more likely to die from complications than white patients affected by the disease.

Because the Latino population is the largest and quickest growing minority in Washington state and COVID-19 is so dangerous to patients with diabetes, this new clinic will be a strong resource for the Latino community in Seattle. Dr. Wright wants more people in the Latino community to seek help, and said this clinic will be a great outreach tool.

The clinic’s entire staff — including physicians, a diabetes educator / nutritionist, the clinic manager, and five patient-care specialists — is bilingual. Cultural insights and language are key to helping Latino diabetes patients understand symptoms, treatment, and more. Dr. Wright related a story about a patient who took a nutrition class and was told to eat more kale and quinoa, but the patient didn’t understand what those food items were. This interaction was a great example of how there can be a disconnect between healthcare workers and the Latinx community.

The Latinx diabetes clinic is located at 750 Republican Street at the new Diabetes Institute. Currently, the clinic is open weekly on Tuesdays from 7:45 am to 4:45 pm, but plans are in the works to extend those hours.

Story by Ethan Chung and photographs courtesy of UW Medicine.


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