Thrive by IU Health

April 30, 2021

Breaking down barriers

Breaking down barriers

Imagine trying to secure your vaccine for a public health crisis but not being able because you cannot read or speak English. For many Hispanic Hoosiers, this worry is their reality.

To eliminate this healthcare barrier, IU Health Foundation has pledged $5,000 to La Plaza, a nonprofit organization that connects Latino families to health and social services, to help Spanish-speaking individuals register online for their COVID-19 vaccine.

“The pandemic has highlighted that health disparities exist within the Black and Brown communities in Indiana,” says Lori Satterfield, IU Health Community Outreach and Engagement (COE) program manager. “This gift will allow us to make sure every Latino Hoosier who wants a vaccine, gets the assistance they need to register for one.”

An IU Health COE survey found that Indiana’s underserved communities had three major reasons for not registering for a vaccine appointment, all having to do with access and accessibility.

To address these needs, the donation will help La Plaza hire part-time employees, who are fluent in Spanish, to answer questions, schedule vaccination appointments, and address transportation needs.

Suzanne Rivas, a college student studying social work and Spanish, was recently hired into one of these new, part-time roles.

“It's important to make sure that those who want the vaccine, can get the vaccine,” says Rivas. “Hoosiers helping Hoosiers is one step in the right direction amid this pandemic."

In addition to the support from IU Health Foundation, IU Health is partnering with several Hispanic organizations, including La Plaza, to staff community pop-up clinics. Thanks to these clinics, more than 600 Hispanic Hoosiers have already been registered for their COVID-19 vaccines.

The next community clinic IU Health will assist with is May 15, from 9 am – 4 pm, at La Plaza.

“The success of these events demonstrates the need and demand for this program,” says Satterfield. “I’m grateful to see it offered again this summer for our underserved communities.”

If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, call La Plaza at 317.890.3292 or visit in person at 8902 E. 38th St., Indianapolis.