APL Colloquium

September 20, 2019

Colloquium Topic: “Puentes y Verjas” – Hispanic Health

Hispanic Americans are a growing group that includes persons of Spanish, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Mexican Central, and South American descent, irrespective of race.  According to the 2015 U.S. Census Bureau there are almost 56.5 million Hispanics in these United States.  These figures do not capture Hispanics that are undocumented, and it is estimated that those numbers are higher.  Within the group, there are higher rates of disease including cancer, heart disease, and chronic illness (hypertension, obesity, cancer, etc.).

It is well accepted that Heart disease (HD) has been a leading cause of death in the United States for many years.  This talk will discuss a study that was conducted to identify the level of knowledge of the risks and symptoms of heart disease (HD) that Hispanic women (HW) possess compared to non-Hispanic women, (NHW).  Hispanic women were found to possess less knowledge of HD risks and symptoms than NHW. Age, education and language were noted to affect and contribute to the levels of knowledge of HW.

Colloquium Speaker: CAPT Mercedes Benitez-McCrary, Dr.HSc, MA CCC-SLP

On March 1, 2016, CAPT Benitez McCrary was selected  By VDM Murthy and RADM Trent Adams to serve as the CPO and is the first Bilingual Speech Language Pathologist in the history of the US Public Health Service, (USPHS) Commissioned Corp to be named Chief Professional Officer.

CAPT Benitez McCrary is a board certified bilingual Speech Language Pathologist, specializing in geriatric care and the diagnosis & treatment of the traumatic brain injured military patient, (TBI), and dysphagia rehabilitation in Spanish and English. In addition she also serves as a global health science policy subject matter expert specializing in public health and disease prevention. CAPT Benitez McCrary is currently serving as the Chief Therapist for the USPHS and as senior advisor at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, (CMMI) at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

CAPT Benitez McCrary was first commissioned in the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) in 1978 as a LTJG.  Past positions include Clinic Director, Special Assistant to the office of the SGR.H. Carmona, Executive Director to the President of UMDNJ and Senior Policy Advisor. CAPT Benitez McCrary received her Bachelor of Arts degree and a Masters in Speech Language Pathology from The George Washington University. CAPT Benitez McCrary obtained her Doctorate in Health Sciences / Public Health from A.T. Still University. She has been the recognized in both the academic and private sectors as an expert in clinical care and is a recipient of several national honors and military awards. The Captain has several publications in Patient & medical care journals as well chapters in Otolaryngology Patient care books. Future research projects include soldier readiness, elder health literacy and TBI rehabilitation.   She is a proud member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Dr. Victor R. McCrary and I share a home along with our two adult children.