HEALTH

Report: California lacking in Latino doctors despite growing population

BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 05:  A doctor uses a stethoscope on a patient on September 5, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. Doctors in the country are demanding higher payments from health insurance companies (Krankenkassen). Over 20 doctors' associations are expected to hold a vote this week over possible strikes and temporary closings of their practices if assurances that a requested additional annual increase of 3.5 billion euros (4,390,475,550 USD) in payments are not provided. The Kassenaerztlichen Bundesvereinigung (KBV), the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, unexpectedly broke off talks with the health insurance companies on Monday.  (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)

BERLIN, GERMANY - SEPTEMBER 05: A doctor uses a stethoscope on a patient on September 5, 2012 in Berlin, Germany. Doctors in the country are demanding higher payments from health insurance companies (Krankenkassen). Over 20 doctors' associations are expected to hold a vote this week over possible strikes and temporary closings of their practices if assurances that a requested additional annual increase of 3.5 billion euros (4,390,475,550 USD) in payments are not provided. The Kassenaerztlichen Bundesvereinigung (KBV), the National Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, unexpectedly broke off talks with the health insurance companies on Monday. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)  (2012 Getty Images)

A new report says California is dramatically lacking in Latino doctors despite the state's growing population.

The report released Friday by the Latino Physicians of California says although nearly 40 percent of the state's population is Latino, just five percent of the state's physicians are.

The nonprofit advocacy group says that means there are not enough physicians who are culturally prepared to take care of Latinos gaining health coverage through President Barack Obama's health insurance overhaul.

Dr. Silvia Diego of Modesto says Latino doctors who share their patients' language and understand their culture can build a stronger rapport. Patients are more likely to heed their doctor's advice if they trust and understand the physician.

The report says Hispanics make up just 9 percent of students admitted to medical schools.

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