Chicanos Por La Causa, Inc. (CPLC), the third-largest Hispanic nonprofit in the country, yesterday recognized Joe G. N. “Skip” Garcia, MD, for the significant strides he has made in health equity and education at the University of Arizona (UA).
Since taking office as the senior vice president for health sciences at the UA, Dr. Garcia has been a driving force in identifying and implementing strategies and programs that impact health and education access by diverse populations.
“Latino educators and administrators are instrumental to the economic success of the community,” said David Adame, CPLC president. “Dr. Garcia recognizes the important role he plays and, since appointed to the leadership position, he has led a set of initiatives to decrease health disparities, improve the quality and diversity of UA’s health professions workforce and student body, as well as develop collaborations to accelerate innovation through research that promotes health equity in Arizona and the nation.”
President Adame added, “The Chicanos Por La Causa’s mission perfectly aligns with Dr. Garcia’s initiatives that create economic opportunities through a solid foundation of education and equal access to health care.”
CPLC recognized Dr. Garcia Wednesday, May 6, during an event with a group of well-known community, business and educational leaders.
Health disparities are a critical issue in the United States and a key priority for academic health centers is to protect the quality of care for the medically underserved, said Dr. Garcia. With a population that is 35 percent Latino and Native American, Arizona suffers from staggering health disparities, made even more severe by the absence of a diverse biomedical and health-care workforce, he added.
The Arizona Health Sciences Center plays a key role in addressing that shortage through a commitment to improving the diversity within the health-sciences workforce.
“We are continuing to develop our many already successful statewide academic outreach `pipeline’ programs and services that offer Hispanic and under-represented, or financially, socially or educationally disadvantaged students, the academic enrichment that is an essential foundation to the pursuit of health careers,” Dr. Garcia said.
The commitment extends to the education, training, recruitment and employment of a diverse faculty, staff and student body that is reflective of the Arizona communities it serves, he said.
Dr. Garcia thanked the CPLC for its support through scholarships provided, including the Los Medicos Scholarship for medical students over the last seven years and a scholarship for UA public health students over the last two years.