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Dr. Jaime R. Torres is currently president of Latinos for Healthcare Equity, a not-for-profit organization created to improve access to quality, affordable healthcare for the Latino community. Prior to this position, he was appointed by President Obama to serve as the Regional Director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Region II, covering New York, New Jersey, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. In this role, he served as HHS Secretary’s representative in the Region, and was the lead contact with federal, state, local, tribal and territorial government officials.
In announcing his appointment, former Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said, "Jaime Torres brings an extensive, working-level knowledge of our department's most important issues, as well as a knowledge of the people and institutions in his region. His experience and talents will be invaluable as our department works to effectively implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act."
Before his appointment he served as Associate Director of Consultative Services at Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital in New York City, part of the Health & Hospital Corporation- the largest public health system in the nation.
In 1984, after completing his residency, he began to work in the South Bronx where he saw firsthand the human reality of health disparities and the plight of the uninsured and underinsured. He began to work with local community groups to improve health services. In order to learn more about health policy, he applied and was accepted to the National Hispanic Medical Association’s Leadership Program, and completed a Master of Science in Community Health from Long Island University.
In 2005 he founded Latinos for National Health Insurance—which now became Latinos for Healthcare Equity—, a national coalition of Latino leaders advocating for a national health insurance program and equality in health care. In this capacity convened many forums and Congressional briefings which helped educate Latino organizations on efforts to reform health care.
He was vice-chair of the Hispanic/Latino Work Group of the National Diabetes Education Program, which is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, and he was instrumental in creating bilingual health campaigns for people with diabetes. In 2006 he was asked by the American Podiatric Medical Association to become their spokesperson for their campaign “Descubra sus pies” (Discover Your Feet) which teaches Latinos how to prevent foot ailments that come as a result of diabetes.
In 2009, because of his advocacy work in healthcare, he was selected by Hispanic Business Magazine as one of “100 Most Influential Hispanics” in the United States. He has also been honored with the National Hispanic Medical Association Health Leadership Award, the Dr. Helen Rodriguez Trias National Latino Leadership Award, the National Hispanic Council on Aging Community Service Award, and the NY Commission on the Public’s Health System Healthcare Hero Award.
Dr. Torres is also an Associate at the not-for-profit Aesthetic Realism Foundation in New York City, the education founded by the philosopher, poet and historian Eli Siegel, and studies in classes taught by the Chairman of Education Ellen Reiss. He is co-author of Aesthetic Realism and the Answer to Racism (Orange Angle Press 2004) and a frequent speaker on topics including racism, the uninsured, and ethics in healthcare issues. Additionally, he has authored articles which have been printed across the United States in both Spanish and English, concerning ethics and the healthcare system.
He lives in New York City with his wife, art educator and lecturer, Donita Ellison.
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