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An open letter to the Republican Party

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Nov. 7, 2012: Mitt Romney arrives at his election night rally in Boston.AP

My dear fellow Republicans we need to go back to basics.  The result of the election yesterday, at least for me, was a wake-up call.  And this wake-up call reflected three fundamental principles: One, my love for America; two, the principles that built the party of Lincoln; and three, my Latino heritage.

There is no way to avoid dealing with the fact that 16 percent of the American population, which represents over 50 million people, are of Latino descent.  I can tell you as a Latino myself, we may love our salsa music and our spicy food, but many of us desire the same things that all immigrants who have come to this country also wanted – a strong work force, a good education for our children and a place to take our sick.

For many Latinos like my father, growing their own businesses was also a big dream, and as we see today, small business growth is still quite significant in Latino families that have settled in many states of this great country.

I know as a member of the party of Lincoln, that Republican founding principles are the best way to achieve this dream for many of my compatriots. So, I ask this question: Why are we failing in our message?

The answer is very simple.  We’re not listening.

I’ll use a relevant example from medicine.  Not so long ago, we needed to improve our patient satisfaction scores in my hospital, so we brought in a consultant, and we asked, ‘What are we doing wrong?’

After reviewing our data, the consultant said the following, ‘You’re practicing great medicine.  You guys have great outcomes.  But patients feel like you’re not listening.’

I was very surprised by that.  But yet, the fact that our scores were not reflecting the quality of medicine we were practicing told me we had to make some changes.

One thing that we changed was when a doctor walks into a patient’s room to speak with them, he or she now sits down.  In the past, most doctors would usually come in and out of the room, answer one or two questions, and then leave.  But by sitting down, the patient feels the doctor is actually taking the time out of his or her busy schedule to share a moment.

Another practice we implemented is calling the patient for follow-up after he or she has left the hospital to see if things are going OK. Again, that keeps the patient connected to us, and the patient and the patient’s family are gratified.

I think that if the Republican Party wants to change, the way that we transmit our message has to be fundamentally recalculated. You literally have to go out and identify with the real problems of many Latino families.  You have to alter their perceptions. And whenever possible, you have to execute solutions, which have measurable outcomes to them – and then follow it up.  Further, you must take these steps not only during an election cycle, but at every single opportunity possible.  

Right now, we have three Latino senators and 17 Latino congressmen. We need to go back to basics.  And I’ll bet that at the end of the day, many Latino families will choose the freedom of the Republican Party over any other.

Dr. Manny Alvarez serves as Fox News Channel's Senior Managing Editor for Health News. Prior to this position, Alvarez was a FNC medical contributor.
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