National Hispanic Heritage Month is observed annually Sept. 15-Oct. 15. It’s a time to honor and celebrate the culture, heritage and contributions of Hispanic Americans, whose ancestry originates in Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
To recognize the month, Dr. Alba Ortega, a pediatrician at Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics, Amherst, shares how she celebrates her heritage through music, dance and the Spanish language.
What is your role at Akron Children’s, and how long have you been with the hospital?
I have served as an office pediatrician at Akron Children’s in Lorain County, as well as attending to newborns in a local nursery, for almost 2 years. Life began at another point previously, however.
What do you enjoy most about your work at Akron Children’s?
What I enjoy most about working at Akron Children’s is encounters with the kids and their families to participate in their health dynamic. It is an honor and a privilege.
As a Hispanic American, what does National Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
To my perception, this heritage month typically means that live Latin music events are more accessible. Also, there are sometimes more learning opportunities about the American Latino/a experience.
How do you recognize, honor and celebrate your Hispanic heritage?
As a Latina, I continue to speak the language. I dance and listen to music that covers many genres; I cook and eat some of the cuisine that can vary widely. I look forward to travel experiences that may further cement my understanding of my cultural heritage. Keeping up with family may be a universal experience, but I sense a more emphatic approach among Latinos.
As we strive to deliver culturally competent care and create an inclusive environment for our patients and families, what would you like others to know?
Kindness is universal. Attempts to be kind are thought of as kind. Being unhelpful gives off the opposite vibe. Watching someone struggle may be used with one’s own charges. As providers of care, watching someone struggle through the process of appointment making, office visits, follow up, provision of medication and not intervening as the person struggles is unkind. Choose kindness.