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March 2013

The Term Hispanic/Latino: A Note of Caution

JAMA Dermatol. 2013;149(3):274-275. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.1304

The “Hispanic” or “Latino” population is receiving increasing attention in the medical literature. A search in PubMed using the term Hispanic or Latino within the title demonstrates a dramatic increase in articles over time, with 295 articles between January 2000 and December 2001 vs 970 articles over the same 24-month interval 1 decade later. We randomly selected some of these articles and observed common patterns when using these terms, such as a failure to provide a specific definition for Hispanic or Latino, interchangeable use of the terms Hispanic and Latino, and lack of stratification of the members of the “Hispanic/Latino” group under consideration. While not consistently reported, some studies did provide the source of their Hispanic/Latino attribution such as US Census data, medical records, birth certificate information, or self-reported race/ethnicity.

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