New Latino Health IT Initiative Announced By HIMSS

HIMSS11 Launch Event Will Feature Former U.S. Surgeon General Antonia Novello

CHICAGO (January 21, 2011) – With the Hispanic population as the nation’s largest minority, HIMSS announces the establishment of a new HIMSS Latino Initiative to focus on health IT needs for the rapidly growing Hispanic/Latino market.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for HIMSS to share its resources and knowledge with the Hispanic community,” said H. Stephen Lieber, CAE, HIMSS President and CEO.  “I look forward to working with the HIMSS Latino Initiative on its efforts to identify information technology solutions to improve the quality of care, increase access to care, and reduce the cost of care among the United States’ Latino population.”

During HIMSS11, the HIMSS Latino Initiative will host a program featuring a keynote speech by former U.S. Surgeon General Antonia Novello, MD.  Other presentations include a panel with industry leaders including David R. Hunt, MD, FACS, Chief Medical Officer in the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and a networking reception.  Panel discussions will include the State of Latino Health/Health Disparities, and Health IT Adoption in the Hispanic Community and Overcoming Barriers. This complimentary event will be held on Sunday, Feb. 20, from 2-5 p.m. at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando.  To RSVP, visit http://surveys.himss.org/checkbox/Survey.aspx?surveyid=5328.

HIMSS’ new Latino Initiative will be led by a workgroup that is open to all HIMSS members and will meet monthly via teleconference.   Luis Belen, President and CEO of VWCGlobal and Founder, President and CEO at Medic Success; and Danny Vargas, President of VARCom Solutions, have been named as co-chairs of this workgroup by HIMSS Board Chair C. Martin Harris, MD, MBA.

“I am excited to work with HIMSS leadership on this ground-breaking initiative, which will enable us to address the needs of Latino healthcare professionals and businesses,” said Belen.

“Having interacted with Hispanic communities throughout the country,” said Vargas, “I have seen first-hand the need to improve the delivery of health-related services to the Hispanic population.  Health IT will play a vital role in bridging the gap in health disparities.”

“We at ONC are excited to work with the HIMSS Latino Initiative to help advance the adoption, implementation, and meaningful use of electronic health records (EHR) in the Hispanic clinical community,” said Dr. Hunt. “The promise of electronic health records to improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of healthcare in the United States is unprecedented.   This initiative is another voice to help us realize that promise broadly and equitably throughout our nation.”

Expanding HIMSS’ outreach into diverse communities is part of the Society’s strategic plan.  Estimated at 16 percent today, by the year 2050, 30 percent of the U.S. population is projected to be Hispanic/Latino.  More information is available on the HIMSS website at http://www.himss.org/advocacy/about_latinoInitiative.asp.

About HIMSS
HIMSS is a cause-based, not-for-profit organization exclusively focused on providing global leadership for the optimal use of information technology (IT) and management systems for the betterment of healthcare. Founded 50 years ago, HIMSS and its related organizations have offices in Chicago, Washington, DC, Brussels, Singapore, Leipzig, and other locations across the United States. HIMSS represents more than 30,000 individual members, of which two thirds work in healthcare provider, governmental and not-for-profit organizations. HIMSS also includes over 470 corporate members and more than 85 not-for-profit organizations that share our mission of transforming healthcare through the effective use of information technology and management systems. HIMSS frames and leads healthcare practices and public policy through its content expertise, professional development, and research initiatives designed to promote information and management systems’ contributions to improving the quality, safety, access, and cost-effectiveness of patient care. To learn more about HIMSS and to find out how to join us and our members in advancing our cause, please visit our website at www.himss.org.