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Certain populations in our community have unique health needs or unique barriers that they experience when it comes to health. A few of those groups are listed below. This list is not exhaustive and the groups are not mutually exclusive. Individuals may belong to more than one group.

Hispanic and Latino Populations

Hispanic and Latino populations are the fastest growing communities of color in the U.S. Hispanic and Latino people experience disparities in health and access to care and are 3 times more likely to be uninsured than their Non-Hispanic White counterparts. Furthermore, Hispanic and Latino people who are immigrants, refugees, undocumented, in poverty, disabled, or limited in English proficiency are even more likely to face health inequities due to the marginalization they experience.


LGBTQ+ is an inclusive term encompassing a diverse range of gender identities and sexual orientations, including but not limited to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning or Queer. Members of the LGBTQ+ population encounter barriers to healthcare, including discrimination, stigma, and lack of culturally competent care. This community also faces higher rates of mental health concerns and smoking and substance abuse. Creating inclusive and supportive healthcare environments, along with policies that protect against discrimination, is crucial in reducing health disparities among LGBTQ+ individuals.

Low-Income Individuals

Income provides access to resources that promote good health, such as good schools, health care, healthy food, and safe neighborhoods. Having sufficient income can also help individuals avoid health hazards like air pollution and subpar housing conditions. As a result, people with lower income are more vulnerable to a variety of health hazards compared to those making a sufficient living wage. This can lead to a higher prevalence of conditions like obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. Addressing health disparities in this group requires a comprehensive approach that focuses on the social determinants of health.

Older Adults
(65+ years old)

Older adults are defined as individuals aged 65 years and older. Older adults may face unique challenges that affect their health outcomes, such as limited access to healthcare services, social isolation, and age-related chronic conditions. Socioeconomic factors, including limited income and education level, can further exacerbate disparities. Addressing the health needs of older adults requires accessible health and social services, age-friendly environments, and opportunities for social connection.

People who speak languages other than English

Nearly one in five SLO County residents speaks a language other than English in their household. Spanish is the most common, and growing numbers of indigenous residents in SLO County speak Mixteco languages, which are non-written and include 81 variants. These populations may have a limited or no understanding of Spanish. People who speak languages other than English are at greater risk of linguistic isolation and face barriers to navigating health and social systems. Addressing disparities in this group will require communication and outreach strategies that put language access front and center.

Rural Communities

Rural communities are geographic areas with lower population density. Individuals living in rural areas may encounter difficulties accessing healthcare, leading to delayed or inadequate medical care. Limited availability of healthcare providers, transportation challenges, and difficulty accessing nutritious food also contribute to disparities. Rural residents are more likely to be older adults, in poverty, in fair or poor health, and to have chronic health conditions.

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