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Advancing Latino Perspectives and Careers

Jose De La Rosa started his career with a foot in two worlds, working for health insurance companies during the day and going to college at night to get a degree in computer science and then an MBA in finance and marketing.

Jose De La Rosa

It took 10 years, but it taught him to use technology and data to solve business problems in health care.

De La Rosa, who immigrated from Mexico and grew up in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood, also learned early in his career to bring another world to his work: his experiences and perspectives as a Latino.

After he joined Health Care Service Corporation in 2004 to manage a team developing digital applications, he sought out other Latinos for advice and conversation.  

That casual networking evolved into an official business resource group, or BRG, becoming a valuable source of insight and opportunity for the company and its employees. 

“It was a great medium for us to tap into and really channel some of the things that we wanted to do and some of the things that we wanted to say and share with the organization,” says De La Rosa, now an executive director of corporate strategy and planning and the enterprise chairperson for the Latinos for Advancement BRG.

Latinos for Advancement has nearly 800 members and chapters in Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas. Its mission is to advance the careers and perspectives of HCSC’s thousands of Latino employees.

“We also wanted to be a bridge between HCSC and our Latino communities,” De La Rosa says. “We felt, if we can bring an outside-in, inside-out perspective from our communities — the places that we live — then that’s a win-win.”

The BRG has helped the company meet the needs of the large and growing Latino populations in four of the five states where the company provides health care coverage.  

“It's a huge opportunity, so we spent a considerable amount of time sharing some of our Latino insights, experiences and needs with our leaders,” he says. The lessons were as basic as understanding that the Latino community is not homogenous — that Latino Americans have diverse backgrounds and cultures.

"If we can bring an outside-in, inside-out perspective from our communities — the places that we live — then that’s a win-win.”

With insights gained in part from the BRG, De La Rosa developed and executed a Latino market strategy to ensure HCSC was able to serve its diverse Latino populations at every stage — from advertising health plans to helping members understand benefits and navigate the health care system.

Part of the strategy, for example, was a dedicated service center that provides customer service, claims administration and eligibility management for Spanish-speaking members.

Another priority was ensuring health plan networks have enough Spanish-speaking health care providers in areas with large numbers of Latino members. The company also recognized it had to do more than translate documents, because many Latinos — particularly the younger generations — prefer text messages and social media.

Now, with 16 years at HCSC, De La Rosa says he’s happy to be able to encourage newer employees to get involved in Latinos for Advancement.

“The BRG for me was a tremendous experience in terms of organizing some of our Latino colleagues to channel our knowledge and experiences to help each other grow personally and professionally, and to connect with our Latino communities across our markets,” he says. “I still see that today in terms of what they want to do and all of their creativity and excitement and energy — and I get excited about that.” 

Health Care Service Corporation, a Mutual Legal Reserve Company.