More than 300,000 people in western Pennsylvania suffer from diabetesâand
for those facing financial and language barriers, itâs often difficult
to access health care education and services that would guide them in
managing their disease.
Schweitzer Fellow Ruth Plastererâan occupational therapy student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciencesâis working to bridge that gap.
She partnered with the Birmingham Free Clinic
in Pittsburghâs South Side to launch support groups providing uninsured
Spanish- and English-speaking patients with culturally competent
diabetes management education.
developed this project out of my desire to increase the availability of
comprehensive, culturally appropriate medical healthcare services for
those with limited access to them,â says Plasterer, who majored in
Spanish as an undergraduate. âMy friendships with immigrants from Latin
America and my Cuban grandmother have made me more acutely aware of the
need for increased health care services to Spanish-speaking immigrants
in the U.S., and a career goal of mine is to advocate for improved
healthcare services for this often overlooked population.â
support group sessions have resonated with the community sheâs serving.
âHighmark donated materials to the Spanish-speaker group, including
healthy cookbooks in Spanish,â she says. âFor tonightâs session, I made a
soup, and one of the group members is bringing a low-sugar dessert.â