Gallardo Draws Attention to a Need for Culturally Sensitive Medicine
As a second generation Mexican-American pursuing a nursing degree, Kristine Gallardo, a recipient of the Go Red™ Multicultural Scholarship Fund, is in a unique position to give back to the community that raised her.
Gallardo grew up in a Spanish-speaking home before attending college. Now in graduate school at Azusa Pacific University, she considers herself “lucky” to have had so many opportunities, and gives back by volunteering at a medical clinic that serves primarily Hispanics. It is this volunteer work, and the experiences of family members, that have opened her eyes to the major disparities that exist in the healthcare system.
“Minority populations are stuck between the cultural barrier, the language barrier and the economic barrier,” she says. “I can relate to this population and help guide them with the knowledge I have gained through my formal training.”
Gallardo recognizes that access to care and affordability as issues that affect most Americans, and she believes cultural differences are an additional barrier for Hispanics.
“I have seen many situations where healthcare providers pass off a patient by labeling him or her ‘noncompliant’ or ‘uncooperative,’ she says. “Often the problem is not a patient who won’t follow through, but simply that the patient is lost due to misunderstanding and confusion.”
Alleviating this confusion and the disparity of care that results are Gallardo’s motivation as she works toward a master’s degree in nursing.