Rebecca Reyes has served as patient advocate, administrator, educator, problem solver and respected health resource for more than 23 years.  As coordinator of Duke Health’s Latino Health Services, Reyes oversees an agency that provides services primarily to those in the Hispanic community lacking health care.

Reyes earned a master’s degree in Divinity at the Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary and later became a campus minister at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. As the area Hispanic population grew, she was hired by Duke University Medical Center to help facilitate medical care for the growing number of Spanish-speaking residents.   Reyes saw first-hand how Spanish-speaking Hispanic families with illness and without insurance remain in the shadows until an emergency room visit was required.  

Latino Health Services collaborates with Local Access To Coordinated Health Care (LATCH), a bilingual care management team that includes a program coordinator, community health workers, a health educator, and a social worker.  LATCH services include visits to the emergency room, urgent care and primary care providers. According to Reyes, LATCH care includes patient support, health care navigation, health education, and patient advocacy.  Statistics show a 25 percent decrease in the percentage of clients who used the Emergency Department once they enrolled in LATCH. In addition, data shows that those enrolled in LATCH were more likely to obtain medical check-ups to prevent health problems that those not receiving assistance from LATCH.

Latino Health Services works closely with community agencies, including El Centro Hispano, a non-profit agency committed to improving life for the Hispanic/Latino community.

“I think our biggest challenge has been in obtaining resources,” Reyes said. Another has been educating the Durham community and public discussion of cultural issues.  Diversity classes have been successful, she said, and progress has been made. 

For more information about Duke Medicine’s Latino Health Services contact Rebecca Reyes at 919-668-2193 or reyes004@dm.duke.edu