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INVISION Podcast New Season: Dee Talks With Dr. Diana Canto-Sims on the Challenges of Serving the Nation’s Largest Ethnic and Racial Minority

Hispanic Heritage Month only lasts a few weeks but their need for care and care should be a year-round priority.

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IN OUR FIRST EPISODE of our new season, In Vision with Dee Carroll connects with Dr. Diana Canto-Sims, a first-generation Hispanic ECP who knew very early on she wanted to cater to the Spanish-speaking community. After a fun summary of Diana’s own background and why she eventually launched her wholesale line La Vida Eyewear, Diana gives Dee a little vocabulary lesson to help to clear up the difference and any confusion between the terms Hispanic, Latino/Latina and Latinx (11:30). If you need a little clarity on terminology, it’s highly enlightening.

Then things get real. Around 15 minutes in Diana explains the specific challenges the Hispanic population faces in securing quality health and eyecare and how ECPs — even those who don’t speak Spanish — can provide the care they need. In short, trying and doing your best is a huge step, but hiring bilingual staff is huge. Then the two discuss the specific diseases and vision conditions that are endemic to the market that often go untreated or undertreated due to poor communication and how ECPs can help address it. Many of these challenges were further exacerbated by the pandemic, Diana explains how (22:00) and how some cultural differences continue to be problematic as social distancing and limiting the number of people in the business remain.

The two then discuss the latest Census figures which have identified the Hispanic demographic as the largest ethnic and racial minority in the United States, underscoring that the population is too large and significant to remain underserved (25:00). Diana then provides a few ideas eyecare businesses can implement to accommodate their own Spanish-speaking communities, including ensuring their product selection and marketing materials are inclusive, representative and all printed materials — including websites — are available is Spanish. Hint: Google can help here.

Diana assures listeners that the Hispanic community is not easily offended and appreciate any attempt to do something to accommodate them but she does outline some culturally insensitive tropes and assumptions to avoid in communications and marketing materials (29:00). They finish up their talk with several specific actions ECPs can implement to honor and celebrate this group in their own communities year-round.

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