abc27 is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month and today — we’re spotlighting Dr. Johanna Vidal-Phelan — a local physician who came to the U.S. from Puerto Rico when she was 17.
Vidal-Phelan has committed her career to diversify the field of medicine. Less than 6 percent of doctors in the country are Latino and only two percent are Latinas, which can not only create a lack of cultural understanding, but also a language barrier between patient and doctor.
Research shows, the Latino population is the fastest-growing ethnic group in Pennsylvania.
When the Covid-19 pandemic began, Vidal-Phelan says the language barrier left this population largely uninformed.