Breaking barriers: four inspiring stories of Hispanic health professionals
HCA Healthcare celebrates cultural differences and considers them our strengths. Our wide breadth of talent in clinical and non-clinical roles plays an influential role in the healthcare we deliver.
The United States Hispanic population is the fastest growing minority group, making up about 18% of the U.S. population. In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, observed from September 15 to October 15, HCA Healthcare held an interactive BRAVE Conversations session filled with personal stories from colleagues across our organization on the reality of being a Latino in America.
What is a BRAVE Conversation?
Launched in February 2018 by the Cultural Development and Inclusion team, BRAVE Conversations was developed to provide our colleagues an opportunity to share perspectives, and discuss complex and challenging topics through an immersive and transforming dialogue experience.
In 2018, our BRAVE Conversations program was the proud first place winner of the 15th Annual Innovations in Diversity Award by the Profiles in Diversity Journal, which honors corporations, organizations, and institutions that have developed innovative solutions in the area of workforce diversity, inclusion and human equity.
Manager, Urgent Care IT Service Desk
Hailing from Mayagüez, Puerto Rico, Jahzeel moved to Nashville, Tennessee at the age of five and is now responsible for overseeing our urgent care IT services. Before transitioning to HCA Healthcare’s Information Technology Group (ITG), Jahzeel was a supervisor for the customer support team at our HR Operations Center, also known as HCA Healthcare hrAnswers.
“One of the most important things that separates me and makes me unique from others is being bilingual,” Jahzeel said. “From an early age, my parents told me that that would be my differentiating factor.”
Speaking two languages opened doors for Jahzeel.
“I decided to add ‘bilingual’ to my LinkedIn title. Within two weeks, a HCA Healthcare recruiter reached out to me with an opportunity,” he said. “They said they would prefer the candidate to be bilingual to communicate with fellow Spanish speaking employees regarding HR related questions. This November will be five years that I’ve been with HCA Healthcare and I’m extremely grateful for that.”
When he is not in the office, Jahzeel enjoys traveling with his wife and is an avid fan of the Los Angeles Lakers. He even named his Yorkie dog after his favorite basketball player, Kobe Bryant.
Vice President, Development
The daughter of Spanish immigrants, Monica was born in Maryland, raised in Florida and spent her summers in Spain. She now leads HCA Healthcare’s corporate development team.
From an early age, Monica was exposed to healthcare. Her parents had moved to the U.S. so that her father could complete a cardiology residency.
“It was very important for my parents that we had an education and that we took advantage of opportunities here in America,” said Monica.
She is married to Dr. Daniel Scokin, an immigrant from Buenos Aires, Argentina, and an anesthesiologist at TriStar Centennial Medical Center. They have 11-year-old twin girls, Marina and Lucia, who travel to Spain every summer. Monica and her daughters hold dual citizenship in Spain and the United States.
“I think that our culture and our language really forms us as we become professionals,” said Monica. “Our ability to communicate, perceive things, to interpret issues: you see things not as black and white, but you can see the gray.”
Manager, Cultural Communications
Born and raised in Colombia, she’s proud of her culture. A native of Bogotá, Colombia, Erika moved to the U.S. in 2005 shortly after graduating from college. Erika is responsible for HCA Healthcare’s diversity and inclusion communications, branding, and multicultural messaging.
“What makes me proud of my heritage is my ability to create relationships,” said Erika. “We are very warm as Latinos, we like to get along and we like to be friends with people. It makes us feel connected.”
Erika’s love for storytelling and strategic writing in English and Spanish, has led her to be recognized nationally and internationally with awards such as the Lovell Ethics Advocacy Award and the International Literacy David Mejia Velilla Award. She’s has been married for 14 years to her husband, fellow HCA Healthcare colleague, Andres. They have two sons, Niko, 12, and Lukas, 2.
“I feel empowered to pave the path for other young Latinas,” says Erika. “I want to be that person to encourage others to say ‘I can do it, even if I have an accent, even if I look this way’.”
Senior Performance Test Analyst, Parallon
Jaime lived most of his early childhood in Mexico City before moving to Los Angeles, California in 1993. At HCA Healthcare, Jaime is currently responsible for the performance testing of Parallon’s IT applications.
Jaime, a firm believer in giving back to his local community, also serves as the Chair of Parallon’s ITG Caring for the Community (CFC) leadership team.
His hobbies include officiating local college football and women’s lacrosse games and serving at Siloam Health, a local Nashville clinic, as a Spanish interpreter.
“When I’m in a patient’s room, they feel a lot more comfortable,” Jaime says of his interpreting experiences.
“You’re helping them, you’re understanding exactly where they’re coming from. I’m not just interpreting the Spanish language, I’m interpreting what they want to express,” he adds. “It makes me feel very helpful, very empowered, like a super hero.”
He has been married for 19 years to his wife, Virnalicy, and has two daughters, Emma, 16, and Briana, 14.
Fun fact: Mexico has 68 languages and dialects officially recognized, but there are even more spoken by smaller communities around the country. Spanish is the most spoken language.
Did you know?
Patient–provider communication is an essential part of providing excellent, compassionate care. Currently, our patients, healthcare providers, and staff at our 184 hospitals, have access to tools that facilitate diverse language solutions and positively impact healthcare in more than 170 languages and dialects.
HCA Healthcare is proud to actively support the national collaborative effort Equity of Care. We believe that by eliminating disparities in healthcare, we can improve experiences and outcomes for all our patients. Equity of Care, a partnership between the American College of Healthcare Executives, American Hospital Association, Association of American Medical Colleges, Catholic Health Association of the United States, and America’s Essential Hospitals, is dedicated to bringing all patients the care they deserve. The coalition works to improve diversity data to expand access, increase cultural competency training and foster diverse leadership.
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About HCA Healthcare
HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 182 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our more than 283,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.
As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.