WXXI AM News

Connections: An update on the crisis in Puerto Rico, and cultural competency in medical care

Jun 4, 2018

A new study from researchers at Harvard estimates that nearly 5,000 people may have died in Puerto Rico as a result of Hurricane Maria. That's more than 70 times the death toll reported by the government, and more than twice the number of deaths from Hurricane Katrina.

Faculty members and research fellows at the University of Rochester Medical Center were part of the response team in Puerto Rico, helping medical personnel on the island set up mobile medical units. Prior to the hurricane, the URMC team was conducting research projects in Puerto Rico, and came to understand the differences in medical infrastructures between the mainland and the island.

Members of that team join us to discuss cultural competency in medical care, the challenges in bringing aid to devastated areas where caregivers may not speak the patients' language, and how to help resident medical personnel care for their people. Our guests:

  • Dr. Tim Dye, associate chair of research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • José Pérez-Ramos, a native of Puerto Rico and current doctoral student in Translational Biomedical Science at the University of Rochester
  • Hilda Rosario Escher, president of the Ibero American Action League