Networks of Care

How Latina Immigrants Find Their Way to and through a County Hospital

by Kathryn Pitkin Derose

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The purpose of this paper is to explore qualitatively the principal problems that Latino women face in getting health care for themselves and their families, how their experiences with the health care system affect them, and how they often overcome obstacles to get health care. Focus group and individual interviews with Latinas in a public hospital in Los Angeles County revealed that Latinas faced many challenges in getting health care for themselves and their families, and, as a result, many felt embarrassed, scolded, helpless, and discouraged from seeking me. Yet they overcame enormous obstacles to get into the system through solidarity with other Latinas, either friends or extended family, and connections with key health service personnel. These networks of care enabled Latinas to access a complicated health care system and offer lessons for providers and policy-makers concerned with improving the delivery of care to this population.

Originally published in: Journal of Immigrant Health, v. 2, no. 2, April 2000, pp. 79-87.

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