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A check-up on a patient in Oakland, Calif. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Feeling stigmatized, threatened or discriminated against correlates with structural heart abnormalities in Latinos, according to a preliminary study.

Why it matters: Experts increasingly recognize the negative effects of discrimination on physical wellbeing, and the American Medical Association has identified racism as a public health threat.

How it works: The study measured the left ventricle and atrial health of over 1,800 Latinos—including Hispanics born outside the U.S. or who predominantly speak Spanish—living in the Bronx, Chicago, Miami, and San Diego.

  • People with an enlarged left atrium or ventricle usually suffer from conditions like high blood pressure and are more prone to have strokes.

What they’re saying: "We need to look at discrimination as a stressor and a risk factor so we can identify individuals who are higher risk" of cardiovascular disease, one of the study’s authors, Jonathan Oxman, told the American Heart Association this week.

Go deeper: Latino mental health crisis grows

Go deeper

Updated Aug 19, 2021 - Axios Events

Watch: A conversation on health access in the Latino community

On Thursday, August 19, Axios hosted a virtual event on closing gaps to health access in the Latino community. Axios Justice & Race Reporter Russ Contreras and Politics Reporter Stef Kight hosted one-on-one conversations with Representative, Texas' 16th Congressional District The Honorable Veronica Escobar; practicing cardiologist and Chief Medical Correspondent at Univision Juan J. Rivera, M.D.; and Chief CRA Officer and Community Banking & Development Executive at Bank of America Alberto Garofalo.

The Honorable Veronica Escobar unpacked COVID-19’s impact on her community, opening the ports between Mexico and the U.S., and governmental responsibility in vaccination efforts.

  • On the effect COVID-19 had on El Paso, Texas: “We became a national hotspot… for a couple of reasons. Latino populations are especially vulnerable because of lack of access to health insurance…. primary care and high rates of being essential workers. But also because we're on the border and Mexico, which at the time was not testing, tracing and mitigating at the same levels. We were doubly at risk.”
  • Her thoughts on Texas Governor Greg Abbott testing positive for COVID-19: “I hope that it's a wake up call for many Texans in terms of getting vaccinated, but I also wish the governor a very speedy recovery. I hope it's a wake up call for him as well…. I hope that while he is convalescing with the best care around him, he realizes that the vast majority of Texans don't have that, and he has a change of heart.”

Juan J. Rivera, M.D discussed the health care inequities for Latinos in the U.S., Latinos’ heightened risk factors, and the importance of preventative medicine.

  • His thoughts on why Latinos seem to be particularly vulnerable to COVID-19: “It's a population with less access to primary care and preventative care. So when it comes to diabetes, heart disease, hypertension and obesity, which now we know are risk factors for the severity of COVID-19, the prevalence of those in the Hispanic community are tremendous. It attacked a vulnerable population to begin with.”
  • On vaccine hesitation among Latinos: “I think there's a lot of misinformation… on the Internet. If you have, let's say, 25 or 30 percent of Latinos — including undocumented immigrants — that don't have access to... a primary care doctor, that's going to be their source of information. So it's very easy for them to encounter misinformation.”

Axios Chief People Officer Dominique Taylor hosted a View from the Top segment with Chief CRA Officer and Community Banking & Development Executive at Bank of America Alberto Garofalo, who discussed the work Bank of America is doing to support the Latino community.

  • “We're delivering on the $1.25 billion commitment over a five year period to specifically advance racial equality and economic opportunity... This effort further accelerates the work already underway to create opportunities for people of color through direct action, investments and work to catalyze similar efforts across the private sector. It includes things like financing, philanthropy, and the focus is primarily on jobs and reskilling, affordable housing, health and small businesses.”

Thank you Bank of America for sponsoring this event.

Hispanics in Louisiana seek help after Ida

The Maldonado family lived in a mobile home in Barataria, Louisiana, that is now completely flooded. Photo: Brandon Bell via Getty Images

Days after Hurricane Ida made landfall in Louisiana, many of the state’s Latino residents are awaiting aid amidst sweltering heat and lack of power, food and drinking water.

Details: The category 4 storm left many houses and apartments unlivable and their residents stranded in the swath between the Gulf of Mexico and Lake Pontchartrain, where many of the state’s Latinos reside.

First look: New climate website touts Biden's actions

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

What is a White House to do when it is stuck between slow-moving climate legislation and a fast-approaching climate summit where its credibility is on the line? Unveil a new White House climate website, of course, showcasing its actions to date as well as ongoing work.

Why it matters: The Biden administration, which shared the site first with Axios, focuses it around the actions taken by the White House National Climate Task Force.

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