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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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Gov. Phil Murphy awards $4 million in grant funding to community organizations assisting residents in health insurance enrollment

Navigator organizations to provide assistance to uninsured and underserved NJ residents during the upcoming ACA Open Enrollment Period and year-round. 

Governor Phil Murphy and Department of Banking and Insurance (DOBI) Commissioner Marlene Caride recently announced the award of nearly $4 million in grant funding for community organizations to serve as state Navigators. These organizations will provide free outreach, education, and enrollment assistance to residents shopping for health insurance during the Affordable Care Act Open Enrollment Period. Open Enrollment at Get Covered New Jersey, the state’s official health insurance marketplace, begins on November 1st.  

The administration is increasing its investment in Navigators this year by nearly half a million dollars, and expanding the number of awardees, to help consumers enroll in quality, affordable health insurance. 

“Since day one, our administration has fought to improve access to health insurance based on our belief that health care is a fundamental right,” said Governor Murphy. “With this investment, we will expand the network of Navigators in our state and ensure that residents who need health insurance can get the help they need to obtain the coverage and care they deserve.” 

Get healthcare assistance through Get Covered NJ 

Get Covered New Jersey is the state’s official health insurance marketplace. Established by law on June 28, 2019 by Governor Phil Murphy, the marketplace is part of the state’s work to improve access to healthcare coverage for NJ residents and build up the progress made through the Affordable Care Act. 

NJ Diver's licenses

Governor of New Jersey Phil Murphy established the state’s official health insurance marketplace, GetCoveredNJ in 2019.

GetCoveredNJ is focused on increasing access to affordable, high-quality health insurance for residents of New Jersey. The marketplace is where individuals and families can easily shop for and buy health coverage, and the only place to receive financial help. You can use GetCoveredNJ to compare health plans and calculate costs, and to choose the plan that works best for you and your family. It is the only place you will be able to apply for financial help to lower your monthly insurance premium and out-of-pocket costs. Through GetCoveredNJ you may also find out if you might qualify for free or low-cost health insurance through New Jersey’s publicly funded health insurance program, NJ FamilyCare.

During the inaugural GetCoveredNJ Open Enrollment Period, enrollment increased by nearly 10 percent over the previous open enrollment. The upcoming Open Enrollment Period at Get Covered New Jersey will run from November 1, 2021 to January 31, 2022, and is the only time during the year residents without coverage through an employer or other program can enroll in health insurance, unless they have a major life event.

With the GetCoveredNJ marketplace, New Jersey can also have a longer Open Enrollment Period and establish Special Enrollment Periods in order to respond to the needs of its residents. For the 2021 plan year, Open Enrollment started November 1, 2020 and ended January 31, 2021. A COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period is now in effect.

GetCoveredNJ allows the state to improve access to healthcare by investing in more outreach and trained experts to provide enrollment help within the community. By continuing to strengthen these Navigator organizations, more residents will have a chance to attain healthcare and assistance throughout the application process. 

“Navigators are an important part of reaching the state’s uninsured residents and ensuring they have access to quality, affordable health coverage and available financial help in their own community. With expanded state and federal financial help available in 2022, we want to ensure as many residents as possible take advantage of low-cost health coverage that is available,” said Commissioner Marlene Caride. “We are excited to continue to expand our network of community organizations providing free, unbiased enrollment assistance to residents. We look forward to working with our community partners as we work to get New Jersey residents covered this Open Enrollment Period and throughout the year.”

Comprehensive list of Navigator organizations  

A total of 18 organizations will be funded for the 2021-2022 year to serve as Navigators to support enrollment assistance in the State-Based Marketplace, expanded from 16 organizations awarded funding last year. All of the organizations serving as Navigators will have the ability to assist residents in-person and remotely. 

A total of $3.9 million will be awarded for the 2021-2022 year, compared to $3.5 million awarded in the 2020-2021 grant year. Navigator grants will support the work of organizations that conduct public education activities and offer free and impartial assistance to consumers to shop for and enroll in coverage on the marketplace, and help them apply for financial help. Grantee activities will include outreach and education year-round for 2022 coverage, including in advance of and during the Open Enrollment Period.

Where to find Navigator Organizations: 

AtlantiCare | Contact: 888-569-1000

Resources

  • LGBTQ health services
  • LifeCenter Fitness
  • Community Program:
    • Healthy Children
    • Healing hearts

Center For Family Services inc. | Contact: 877.922.2377 or access@centerffs.org

Resources

  • NJ COVID
  • Resources for Managing Traumatic Stress
  • Sesame Street in Communities 
  • Resources For Parents and Caregivers
  • Food Access
  • Financial Resources

Family Resource Network | Contact: 800-372-6510, Fax: (609) 392-5621

Resources: 

  • Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Individual Support 
  • Increase Accessibility
  • Home Independence
  • Scholarship Programs
  • Training & In-service Self Advocacy Training
  • Vocational Services
  • After-School Program
  • Network Support Services

Foodbank of Monmouth & Ocean County Fulfill | Contact: 732-918-26000 or main@fulfillnj.org

Resources: 

  • Tax refund Assistance
  • Providing Food
  • Kids Feeding Program
  • Culinary Training
  • Mobile Pantries
  • Affordable Healthcare

Health Research and Educational Trust of New Jersey | Contact: 609-275-4000 

Resources: 

  • ACCME Academy-find course, resources, support tools, and a community of
  • practice. 
  • Advancing Social Justice Resources
  • Educational Design Resources
  • Research Opportunities

HOPES Community-action Partnership Incorporated | Contact: 855-654-6737

Resources: 

  • Infant Head start Program
  • Adult Financial Literacy Workshop
  • Seniors Assisted
  • Transportation Program

Lakewood Resource and Referral Center | Contact: 732-942-9292

Resources: 

  • Affordable Housing
  • assistance
  • Community Education
  • Vaccination awareness

New jersey Citizen Action Educational Fund | Contact: 973-643-8800

Resources: 

  • Free Tax Preparation
  • Financial Coaching
  • Fair Houses Services
  • Consumer’s education

New Jersey Shares | Contact: 609-883-1626 or info@njshares.com

Resources: 

  • NJ Shares Energy Grant
  • Municipal Water Newark & Parsippany- Troy Hills
  • Aqua Aid Program
  • Verizon NJ communications
  • Lifeline Program

Newark Community Health Centers Inc | Contact:  800-994-6242

Resources: 

  • Women’s Health Program
  • Dental Program
  • Behavioral Health Program
  • Specialty Services
  • Pediatric Program

North Hudson Community Action Corporation | Contact: 201-210-0200

Resources: 

  • Program administration
  • Pregnant Woman
  • Parent Family Community
  • engagement
  • Educational Program

Planned Parenthood of Northern, Central and southern New Jersey Inc. | Contact: 800-230-7526

Resources: 

  • Free STD testing
  • HIV Testing and Counseling
  • Cancer Screening
  • Abortion

Southern Jersey Family Medical Centers Inc. | Contact:  609-567-0200

Resources: 

  • Behavioral Health
  • Migrant Health
  • Patient Support Services
  • Women’s Health care

St. James Health Inc. | Contact:  973-789-8111

Resources: 

  • Family Planning
  • Geriatrics
  • Prevention, screening
  • Pharmacy Services
  • Social Work
  • Sports Medicine

The Oranges ACA Navigator Project Inc. | Contact: 973-500-6031

Resources: 

  • NJ Family Care Covered Services
  • Doctor Visits
  • Eyeglasses
  • Prescriptions
  • Mental Health Services
  • Immunizations 

University Hospital | Contact:  (973) 972-4300

Resources: 

  • Specialized Services
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • LGBTQ training resources
  • Billing and Financial Counseling

Urban League of Hudson County | Contact:  201-451-8888

Resources: 

  • Affordable Housing & Community development
  • After school Computer learning
  • Child & Adult Care food program
  • Child Care
  • CEO Program

Zufall Health Center | Contact: 973-328-9100 or info@zufallhealth.org

Resources:

  • Covid Testing/ Info
  • Community Programs
  • Outreach Programs
  • Dental Services
  • Patient Support

Enrollment for 2021 coverage remains open through the end of the year through the COVID-19 Special Enrollment Period. Additionally, residents who qualify for NJ FamilyCare (New Jersey’s Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program) can enroll year-round. More information on health insurance options can be found at GetCovered.NJ.gov