Jorge Moreno, MD, assistant professor of medicine (general internal medicine), was selected by the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) as a 2023 Leadership Fellow, in recognition of his outstanding accomplishments and proven dedication to the Hispanic community. The fellowship program is part of NHMA’s mission to improve the health of Hispanics and other underserved populations by supporting health professionals who are making a difference in medicine and public health.
Originally from Mexico, Moreno grew up in a mostly Spanish-speaking household, where he witnessed the health disparities his parents faced, in part due to language and cultural barriers. The desire to address those barriers led him to his career in internal medicine, he said.
As a primary care physician, Moreno is often the first person his patients—many of whom are Hispanic—come to, he said, and his primary focus in working with them is to bring down walls. “It’s important to listen and to understand where my patients are coming from,” he said. “We might not always agree, but we have an open conversation, and we come to a consensus together about the next step forward.”
During the pandemic, in addition to serving on the frontlines, Moreno was instrumental in disseminating accurate information about COVID-19 to the Hispanic community. He created a video in Spanish—later picked up by NPR—about his experience getting the vaccine, participated in forums at the local and national levels, and helped develop educational videos in English and Spanish for Yale Medicine and Yale New Haven Health, among other projects.
“I became the trusted messenger, trying to help people understand the facts and myths about the vaccine,” he said.
As an NHMA Leadership Fellow, Moreno will attend NHMA’s 26th Annual Conference this April in Chicago, Ill., and participate in weekly training sessions that promote leadership skills. He will also meet with public health leaders in Washington, D.C., to discuss initiatives that impact the Hispanic population, and develop policy recommendations as part of a policy analysis team. His team will present their findings at NHMA’s 27th Annual Conference, in 2024.
With the award, Moreno hopes to learn more about policy work, approaches to public health issues, and community engagement, with a focus on reaching out to groups who are marginalized or have little trust in health care.
“We need to figure out how to relay information to patients in a more effective way so that they get the facts that they need and we can dispel some of the myths out there,” he said. “I look forward to finetuning my skills through the fellowship and bringing them back to Connecticut to better advocate for my community.”
General Internal Medicine is committed to the core missions of patient care, research, education, and community health from the “generalist” perspective and is one of the 11 sections within the Department of Internal Medicine. To learn more about their mission and work, visit General Internal Medicine.