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Health Connection: Healthcare Systems

Neighbors making a difference in our community's health and wellness.

Marcos Pesquera seems to have found his life’s calling in helping Marylanders by addressing the obstacles and resolving the disparities that many face in receiving quality health care services.

Pesquera, a North Potomac resident, is currently the executive director of the Adventist HealthCare Center on Health Disparities and was recently selected to serve on the Maryland Health Quality and Cost Council.

The council’s main goal is to provide innovative solutions for maximizing quality and reducing costs of the health care services provided to Maryland’s citizens.

A primary challenge facing the Center on Health Disparities is how to ensure equitable and quality health care for the limited English and non-English speaking populations. 

According to Pesquera, 28 to 29 percent of Montgomery County residents are foreign born, and 35 percent speak another language primarily in the home.

“When you see the numbers,” he said, “you know to take this seriously. This is very relevant to health care providers today.”

The Center on Health Disparities, in an effort to tackle the language barrier issue, seeks out, trains and provides qualified interpreting personnel for the hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities. In just the past few years, the center has trained more than 400 employees in linguistic and interpreting skills.

The center also provides a number of training programs for health care workers, including health disparity training awareness, stereotype and bias sensitivity training, and improving cross-cultural communication skills.

Partnering with University of Maryland faculty and other community groups with similar missions, the Center on Health Disparities conducts research to discern if their programs are having the necessary impact in the community and how to provide the most effective training to health care providers. The center also provides support to primary care clinics for the uninsured.

Pesquera, who started out his health care career as a pharmacist, has been with the Adventist HealthCare Center on Health Disparities for more than four years.

He gets energized when talking about the future.

The focus of this year’s Annual Health Disparities Conference held on Nov. 2 at the University of Maryland will be the impact that future health care reform will have on improving the health of vulnerable populations and eliminating health disparities.

When asked how he is making a difference, Pesquera replied with confidence, “We want to remove barriers so people will trust the medical system. … We want them to get the right care at the right time and at the right place for the right reasons.”

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