Adriana Perez, PhD, ANP-BC, FAAN
Nurses are uniquely qualified to teach community members about how to live healthy lives, including by promoting health insurance literacy.
Dr. Perez is working with the National Association of Hispanic Nurses to teach multicultural families, particularly Latinos, about concepts such as premiums and co-payments, and the benefits of health insurance, so they can select health insurance through the Health Insurance Marketplace and use it to stay healthy and save money.
Many Latinos don’t know, for example, that health insurance provides free preventive services, or that federal subsidies are available to help them buy health insurance through the marketplace. Dr. Perez and her colleagues are also educating seniors about the free annual wellness visit and preventive services now available through Medicare, as a result of the Affordable Care Act.
“I’m very interested in the power of older adults, especially Latinas, to influence and advance the health of their families across generations.”
- PhD, Arizona State University, 2009
- MS, Arizona State University, 2004
- BS, Arizona State University, 2000
This work is 1 of 13 projects funded through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Partnerships to Increase Coverage in Communities initiative. Dr. Perez is the principal investigator of the project, which started in Arizona. Now, the National Association of Hispanic Nurses has trained about 100 nurses to lead community workshops in 15 states with large Latino and uninsured populations. The project, which also helps participating nurses develop their leadership skills, has reached more than 6,000 families.
Active Living in Hispanic Communities
The health insurance literacy project builds on Dr. Perez’s work as a Congressional Health and Aging Policy Fellow, funded by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention’s Healthy Aging Program, in partnership with the Atlantic Philanthropies. Latino residents in Phoenix’s Central City South community participated in interactive workshops to identify their environmental and policy priorities for active living and created their ideal community. Grandparents talked about a future where their grandchildren could play safely, ride their bikes, walk to school, and sow their own backyard gardens. They spoke about the legacy they could leave behind.
Dr. Perez facilitated the process and developed a documentary that she shared with city planners and local policymakers. To continue this work, community members and organizations created the Moving Communities Coalition.
Opportunities to Learn and Collaborate at Penn Nursing
Dr. Perez moved from Arizona to Philadelphia to join the Penn Nursing faculty in 2015. At Penn, she has the opportunity to strengthen her work so that it has a greater impact and is more sustainable across diverse communities. She is partnering with a pediatric nurse practitioner to develop an inter-generational physical activity program for seniors and their grandchildren.
Working with faculty who are top leaders in nursing and are driving changes in health care delivery, transitions in care, and healthcare for older adults is exciting for Dr. Perez. Penn Nursing equips students with the knowledge, expertise, and experience to be leaders where they work and live. She is energized by Penn Nursing students, and enjoys teaching and mentoring them.
Selected Career Highlights
- Helped launch the National Association of Hispanic Nurses’ Check for Life program in Arizona, in which nurses trained stylists at barbershops and salons that cater to Latino clients to perform blood pressure screenings and simple heart health messages, during appointments
- Chair-Elect, American Academy of Nursing Expert Panel on Aging
- Winner, Leadership in Action Award – Arizona Action Coalition