As coronavirus threatens Latino college enrollment, a university works to retain students

Jessica Martinez spent her weekdays from mid-May through early August in front of a computer screen, tuning into an online law school preparation course for hours on end. She finished leftover assignments at night, then clocked in for 12-hour shifts on weekends as a pediatric home nurse during a pandemic.

“I definitely didn’t sleep very much,” says Martinez, a senior and the student government president at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). “And I did have to work to pay off my summer classes, so it’s not like I could have taken the time off.”

Nick Ortiz, a senior at UTEP’s College of Science and a senator in student government, says he even contemplated taking a break amid the pandemic, but the thought only lingered for a day or two thanks to a generous scholarship as well as support from his peers. One friend, however, still wrestles with

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Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset expands outreach efforts in Latino community

After seeing a surge of COVID-19 cases among members of the Latino community this spring, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Somerset, an RWJBarnabas Health facility, launched bilingual outreach efforts to help area Latino residents prevent the spread of the illness.

Through more than 20 events over the past six months held in collaboration with local schools, churches, food banks, health departments and municipalities, the hospital’s Community Health and Diversity & Inclusion departments have distributed nearly 17,000 masks, 5,000 hand sanitizers and 5,000 soaps as well as Spanish-language educational materials.

The hospital has also formed a Latino Advisory Council with about 20 representatives from local government, businesses and organizations serving the Latino community to further expand its community outreach efforts.

As a result of input from the group, the hospital has launched a new online health education series in Spanish for members of the Latino community. Topics include the importance of

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