NewsCovering Colorado


Children's Hospital Colorado's new Spanish-Speaking Pediatric Surgery Clinic is breaking down barriers

Posted at 10:12 AM, Apr 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-14 12:12:48-04

AURORA, Colo. — One doctor has made it his mission to make healthcare more approachable for families in Colorado by launching a Spanish-speaking pediatric surgery clinic. It's the first of its kind in Colorado.

Martha Meza would do anything for her son, Marko. He was born with gastrointestinal issues, so his family is no stranger to hospital visits.

Finding out he needed surgery a couple of months ago was stressful enough. The language barrier made it worse.

“It’s hard. [Doctors have] helped with a translator before, but there are some times when it gets hard because there’s a disconnect. Or there’s just not a good translation, and then it just becomes more confusing,” Meza told Denver7 in Spanish.

Dr. Jose Diaz-Miron, a pediatric surgeon at Children’s Hospital Colorado, started the Clínica de Cirugía Pediátrica – the Spanish-Speaking Pediatric Surgery Clinic – to better serve the Hispanic and Latino community.

It's the first of its kind in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Region. It was created to answer questions from Spanish-speaking families and patients about pediatric surgical conditions and treatments.

“When you have the opportunity to treat someone in their native language, there's a lot of barriers that you break down,” Dr. Diaz-Miron said.

The Mezas are just one of the families he's been able to help.

“Initially, our clinics were pretty slim, and slowly, they've become more visible, more popular,” he said.

Children’s Hospital Colorado said nearly 30% of its total visits were from Hispanic or Latino patients. Nine percent of those needed a translator, making navigating complex medical topics even harder.

Children's Hospital Colorado's new Spanish-Speaking Pediatric Surgery Clinic is breaking down barriers

According to the 2020 population census, 21.8% of Colorado residents and 29.9% of Denver residents are Hispanic or Latino.

The latest findings by the Latino Leadership Institute at the University of Denver show that:

  • 53% of Hispanics or Latinos in Colorado speak varying levels of Spanish at home
  • 22.8% of Hispanic or Latino individuals in Colorado rate their English proficiency as “not very good”

This is a passion project for Dr. Diaz-Miron, who grew up in Mexico.
“It's a personal satisfaction because coming from Latin America coming from Mexico, being able to give back a little bit to the community now that I practice here in the States is something that's very rewarding, personally,” he said.

For the Mezas, it's what made a stressful life moment a lot better.

“I’m grateful for all the experiences [Dr. Diaz-Miron] had with my son. After the surgery, he checked back in to see how Marko was doing. And everything’s been perfect. So we’re just thankful,” said Meza.

The clinic is held at the pediatric surgery center several times a month, both at the Anschutz Medical Campus and at North Campus Broomfield.

For more information, visit their website.

News Tips
What should KOAA5 cover? Is there a story, topic, or issue we should revisit? Have a story you believe should make the light of day? Let our newsroom know with the contact form below.