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Community Health Care Service Awareness and Use Among the Washington Metropolitan Area Latino Population Open Access

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Access to health care is an increasingly important focus within the United States. Research shows that accessing health care is even more complex for the Latino foreign-born population. The Latino population within the Washington Metropolitan Area presents a unique case in terms of health care access, particularly in terms of the spatial distribution of the population, health services, and political boundaries. Based on a framework derived from general health care access literature and the geography of health, this paper will explore these spatial distributions in addition to other factors, such as socioeconomics and state and local policy, as they pertain to community health care service utilization and awareness among the Latino population. After having collected various data on Metropolitan Washington community health centers, including services offered, hours of operation, and annual patient numbers, this research finds a mismatch between where the Latino population resides and where they utilize community health care services, which has implications for funding across the various subjurisdictions of the study area. One recommendation resulting from this outcome is for an inclusive inter-jurisdictional health program for the uninsured; such a program may increase utilization and awareness of community health services across all jurisdictions for the Latino population and create an additional sustained funding source for community health centers.

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