Silvia Posada, Senior Vice President of Network & Growth at Essen shares why we need Latinas in healthcare

Silvia Posada, is a Latina healthcare professional currently serving as the Senior Vice President of Network & Growth at Essen Health Care, the largest privately-held multi-specialty medical group in New York City.

For the last 20 years, Silvia has worked in the healthcare industry to help others find the right access to care and health resources. 

Latina healthcare professional, Silvia Posada, Senior Vice President of Network & Growth at Essen Health Care. (Photo courtesy of Silvia Posada)

As a Colombian-born immigrant, she moved to New York City at 11 years old. Both her parents were immigrants and the family came to the US seeking better opportunities. 

Living in New York City for most of her life, Silvia has seen beyond the glamorous high-end stores and restaurants where large pockets of first and second-generation immigrants struggle everyday to make it in the city. 

 “As wealthy as many areas are, NYC is also the home of the Bronx which is the poorest Congressional district in all of the US,” says Silvia. 

Due to her experiences as an immigrant and child of immigrants, she is passionate and committed to helping people understand the healthcare resources available to them. 

“Being an immigrant myself, I know there is a huge educational piece that goes along with this. I am an ambassador for Social Determinants of Health and know these lower-income communities are unable to prioritize their health and wellbeing. My goal throughout my career is to make sure people know they have access to health insurance and preventative care.” 

According to the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Justice, “Latinos still have the highest rates of uninsurance when compared to other groups in the U.S. Additionally, there continues to be a deficit of healthcare providers who understand the cultural and linguistic needs of diverse communities, which may contribute to miscommunication and poorer health outcomes.” 

Addressing these barriers is crucial to ensuring Latinos and other immigrant and minority populations receive access to equitable healthcare. These barriers are another reason why it is so important to have Latinas represented in the healthcare industry. Immigrants like Silvia bring a unique perspective to the field as well as cultural knowledge and language skills that can help reach immigrants in need of assistance when making healthcare decisions. 

Latina healthcare

Essen Health Care is the largest privately-held multi-specialty medical group in New York City. (Photo courtesy of Silvia Posada)

“Unfortunately, in the business world and especially in the 90s/early 2000s just being a woman and Latina is a struggle,” says Silvia. “Being accepted as a creditable thought leader in a male-dominated industry was something I always had to fight for but I knew I was good at training and directing my teams to produce quality work and exceed targets, so eventually the results and outcomes ended up speaking for themselves.”

Throughout her career, Silvia has used her various leadership positions to support other women in healthcare, especially single mothers. As a single mother herself when she began her career, Silvia knows the challenges and also how driven and passionate single moms can be. 

“I was always driven to provide a good quality of life for my son and upon entering this field, I noticed a lot of my employees and colleagues were in similar situations, doing what they needed to do to provide for their families. This is when I realized that I needed to help and empower other immigrants and women learn more than just business but financial planning,” Silvia says. 

During team meetings, Silvia began leading discussions on life goals, financial planning, how to get out of debt and start investing, and more. 

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Latina healthcare

Silvia with Essen Health Care colleagues. (Photo courtesy of Silvia Posada)

“Unfortunately, financial planning isn’t something that is taught in high school or colleges and we just expect people to figure these things out on their own, while already in a huge amount of debt due to schooling or other needs,” says Silvia. “I wanted to help them break the cycle of poverty or living paycheck to paycheck and start to create generational wealth, teaching them how to move forward.” 

In addition to providing financial planning education to her colleagues, Silvia found herself hiring more single mothers in her workforce as well. 

“On the surface during interviews that wasn’t the purpose for hiring them but I just noticed a special spark and drive in those candidates. After hiring and working with them I found out a majority happened to be single mothers,” she says. 

After realizing this, Silvia began adapting the way she trained them, helping them to translate the “love of a mother” into a successful career. 

“By tapping into their infinite love for their children and drive to make sure they had all their needs met resulted in a WIN for everyone.” 

Silvia with children at Essen Health Care event. (Photo courtesy of Silvia Posada)

Restructuring the way she trained and worked with her team led to continued success, exceeding their goals and targets and eventually making history in becoming the fastest and largest growing Medicare Advantage Plan in NYC, which continues to this day to be the largest health insurance in the city. 

You might be interested: How your employer can better support Latina and minority women in the workplace

Relying on her strengths as a risk-taker and problem solver throughout her career, Silvia encourages other Latinas and women to always be resilient and push forward. 

“Nothing will ever be perfect without trial and error and I encourage that in the workplace. If something doesn’t work out professionally, it’s ok! I know I will bounce back.”

Additionally, she advises women to remain strong in your convictions, vision, and passion. “Become your number one supporter and fan,” she says, “And don’t ever let anyone doubt your ability to succeed. Handle doubters with a mix of eloquence and assertiveness, and let your success pave the way for the many other women who will follow in your footsteps!”

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  • Victoria Arena is a writer and student, passionate about writing, literature, and women's studies. She is bilingual, fluent in both English and Spanish. In 2017, she received her Associates in Fine Arts for Creative Writing from Brookdale Community College. Now, she is working toward her Bachelor's in English Literature at Montclair State University. Along with literature, Victoria is interested in Gender and Sexuality Studies, which she is pursuing as a minor, focusing closely on women's issues, gender inequality, and LGBT issues. These studies provide her with a feminist lens, which influences her work from both fiction to academic writings.

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