News & Events

News & Events

News & Events

Fellowship allows UofL Pediatrician to pursue dream of better Hispanic health care

Dr. Fernanda Nota

Dr. M. Fernanda Nota with patient

The difference between caring for Hispanic and non-Hispanic patients is as simple as a cup of tea, but missing the difference could be fatal if the patient is a colicky infant and the tea, herbal.

The use of home remedies like chamomile and star anise teas is common in many Hispanic cultures but it can cause life-threatening complications for a young infant. A pediatrician who isn’t savvy to Hispanic traditions would never think to ask whether a parent were dosing a crying baby with tea and the parent might not mention such a routine practice.

Read the entire UofL Today article about Dr. Fernanda Nota, click here

Encouraging Interest in Health Science Career: A Model for Hispanic Undergraduates

(Alex marti, Rafael Fernandez-Botran, Ph.D., Gilandra K. Russell, M.S., M. Fernanda Nota, M.D.)

Purpose of Research: Nationwide Hispanics are 16% of the population yet represent only 3.6% of doctoral degrees. At U of L only 2 % of students are Hispanic. A way to provide health care service that overcomes language and cultural barriers is ensure that our health care system addresses the needs of diverse communities by recruiting members of the latter into higher education health careers. In an effort to increase interest and recruitment of Hispanic students in science careers we developed a two-day “Science Career Workshop” for a local Hispanic youth group conducted by Hispanic professionals from University of Louisville (U of L)

Methodology: A two-day science career workshop was offered to “Adelante Hispanic Achievers”. “Adelante” members are Hispanic/Latino middle and high school students. The organization’s goal is to encourage post secondary-education achievement and professional careers. Six accomplished Hispanic professionals, from different U of L departments were invited to participate, an anthropologist, biologist, immunologist, physiologist, nurse and a physician. Also three third-year medical students were involved and collaborated with the activity. Each professional spent 30 min to share with the students their unique stories of why they chose a science/medical career, discussed specific jobs and provided information about education requirements. The first day was dedicated to basic science careers, and students were given a tour of U of L Health Science Center, where they visited two laboratories, the Medical School library. They participated on hands-on activities related to each professional area of expertise. The second day was devoted to medical/nursing careers. Students gathered at a community center where medical/nursing activities were developed (CPR/response to choking, blood pressure measurement, changes in heart rate before and after activity, auscultation of heart and lungs, among others). Pre and post activity surveys were obtained. Surveys included: Grade in school, areas of interest, interest in reading science books or watching science TV shows, and barriers to achieve career degree. Students were allowed to chose up to three areas of interest.


Pre and Post activity anonymous surveys were obtained from 26 students on the first day of the workshop, and from 15 on the second day. Science was chosen in 23% (6/26), and in 46% (7/15) in pre and post activity surveys respectively. Interest in science increased by 23% post intervention, P value 0.2243 (Chi-square). Student interests in areas other than science were: Drama/Art/Music: 25%; Engineer/Mathematics: 21%; Law: 8%; Sports: 8% among others. Barriers to achieve career degree include: money problems 84%, “not being smart enough” 15%, family problems 7%; being Hispanic 7%.

Conclusions: The change of interest in science after the intervention was not statistically significant. However the survey helped us to assess which factors our Hispanic undergraduate students see as barriers to obtaining higher education degree, as well as, determine their interest in other career areas other than science. Our findings have clear implications for the design of intervention programs to promote science careers. We strongly believe our multidisciplinary career day workshop should be used as a model to encourage Hispanic youth interest in higher science education careers. The lack of statistical significance could be due to our small sample. We are planning to offer this workshop to other Hispanic youth groups in Metro Louisville area in the future.

To view a poster presentation of this topic you will need MS Powerpoint to open file. Click here: Poster.ppt