YORK, Pa. — Dr. Jose Serrano has been a physician for about 12 years.
“You’re interacting with people, you get to use your social IQ, but at the same time, you have to be a scientist," said Dr. Serrano, the medical director of the emergency room at UPMC Hanover.
Being Hispanic, he’s also able to speak Spanish with patients on a daily basis.
“It's certainly important to connect with the community. I think there is a benefit to having a connection, whether you’re speaking Spanish or whether someone associates you with being Latino. It helps with compliance and education because people are less apprehensive," said Dr. Serrano.
He was not only on the frontlines during the pandemic but was also making sure to be a source of information for people whose first language might not be English.
“During COVID-19, I gave talks in Spanish. I was able to also write material in Spanish, but also talk to people to see what their hesitancies were, what their fears were, and have honest conversations in their language," said Serrano.
Marcela Myers, who is the director of language interpretation and cultural services at WellSpan, says that the communication between patient and provider can be detrimental to a patient’s health if there is no clarity.
“Communication in healthcare is very important, but also understanding the culture and where the patient is coming from. It’s very critical because culture plays a significant role in healthcare," said Myers.
She adds that not only is communication vital, but also making sure that patients see themselves in the people that serve them.
“Our patients definitely like to see [those] that look and speak like them," said Myers.