Houston Mayor Recognizes HIMSS Latino Initiative for its Positive Impact

Estimated at 16% today, by 2050, 30% of the US population is expected be Hispanic/Latino

CHICAGO (March 19, 2012) – The Mayor of Houston issued an official proclamation recognizing the efforts of the HIMSS Latino community, and other collaborators, in an effort to promote the adoption of health information technology in underserved areas in and around the city. The proclamation on Health Information Technology and Electronic Health Records, issued in late February by Mayor Annise D. Parker, stated:

“Whereas, HIMSS Latino community, an organization focused on the health IT needs for the rapidly growing Latino community, supports the initiative [of the HHS Office of Minority Health to reach out to providers serving…underserved communities] as part of its education and outreach programs, which nationally promote the engagement of minority providers and the meaningful use of health IT and EHRs…”

The purpose of the Houston initiative is to reduce health disparities in the city’s Latino community.  The effort, led by a grant from Care360 the healthcare IT subsidiary of Quest Diagnostics, and the Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) Office of Minority Health, includes the participation of HIMSS Latino community, Medic Success, and the National Health Information Technology Collaborative for the Underserved.

“I applaud the outreach and educational support provided by the HIMSS Latino Community. It is important for all healthcare providers to have access to an EHR like Care360, where they have the ability to help improve both the quality and efficiency of medical care accessible by underserved communities,” said Richard A. Mahoney, vice president of healthcare information solutions for Quest Diagnostics and president of its healthcare IT subsidiary. “We are proud to donate the Care360 EHR platform to this project and look forward to seeing its impact in the communities served.”

Left to right: Luis Belen, Co-Chair, HIMSS Latino Community; Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA); and  Danny Vargas, Co-Chair, HIMSS Latino Community

Luis Belen, co-chair of the HIMSS Latino community said, “In 2010, Dr. David Blumenthal, then the National Coordinator for Health IT, asked health IT vendor companies to work together to provide EHR adoption opportunities for physicians and other healthcare providers working with underserved minority communities.  We’ve accepted his challenge and have high expectations that this program will make inroads into alleviating health disparities in Houston.  We want to implement this type of model across the country.”

The proclamation comes on the heels of a successful HIMSS Latino Workshop in Las Vegas as part of last month’s HIMSS12 conference.  The workshop included a keynote speech from California Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA), a member of the House leadership and a rising star in the Democratic Party, who told attendees that “what you’re doing is crucial… Health IT is here to stay.  It should be ubiquitous.  No one should be invisible.”

Danny Vargas, co-chair of the HIMSS Latino community said, “The interest in our community and the excitement generated by our workshop are a testament to the importance of the mission of the HIMSS Latino community.  We continue to seek collaborations and look forward to supporting additional groundbreaking initiatives like the one in Houston to achieve a healthier Latino population in the U.S.”

For more information on the HIMSS Latino community, visit the HIMSS website.


HIMSS is a cause-based, not-for-profit organization exclusively focused on providing global leadership for the optimal use of information technology (IT) and management systems for the betterment of healthcare. Founded 51 years ago, HIMSS and its related organizations are headquartered in Chicago with additional offices in the United States, Europe and Asia. HIMSS represents more than 44,000 individual members, of which more than two thirds work in healthcare provider, governmental and not-for-profit organizations. HIMSS also includes over 570 corporate members and more than 170 not-for-profit organizations that share our mission of transforming healthcare through the effective use of information technology and management systems. HIMSS frames and leads healthcare practices and public policy through its content expertise, professional development, research initiatives, and media vehicles designed to promote information and management systems’ contributions to improving the quality, safety, access, and cost-effectiveness of patient care. To learn more about HIMSS and to find out how to join us and our members in advancing our cause, please visit our website at www.himss.org.