Publication Year



Academic Medicine


PROBLEM: From 2000 to 2014, the Latino population in Baltimore city, an emerging Latino settlement area, experienced rapid growth. Many of these individuals are undocumented and not eligible for coverage. Academic medical centers often lead the way in addressing the health needs of undocumented immigrants; however, examples from emerging immigrant areas are limited.

APPROACH: In October 2013, Johns Hopkins Medicine clinicians established the Center for Salud/Health and Opportunities for Latinos (Centro SOL) to better address the health needs of Baltimore’s growing Latino community. Centro SOL’s mission focuses on four core activities: clinical services; advocacy and community engagement efforts; pipeline/education opportunities; and research consultations. Progress is measured through a scorecard reviewed annually by Centro SOL leadership.

OUTCOMES: Centro SOL’s program has expanded health care access for undocumented immigrants, patient safety and quality of service/care programs for patients with limited English proficiency, and pipeline opportunities for Latino youth. In 2017, 2,763 uninsured patients received primary or specialty care and 290 people received group therapy to address stress-related conditions. In addition, 49 Latino students (ranging from high school to postgraduate students) received mentorship at Centro SOL.

NEXT STEPS: In the next five years, Centro SOL plans to expand the pipeline for Latinos interested in health professions fields and to further improve access to health services for Latino families through both advocacy efforts and enhanced clinical services.


Polk, S., DeCamp, L. R., Vázquez, M. G., Kline, K., Andrade, A., Cook, B., … & Page, K. R. (2019). Centro SOL: A community–academic partnership to care for undocumented immigrants in an emerging Latino area. Academic Medicine, 94(4), 538-543.


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