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Forum in Spanish Explores Immune System

June 11, 2021

In an effort to reach communities that may experience barriers to healthcare services, IDF offered its first-ever online forum in Spanish. Long-time IDF member Dr. Vivian Hernandez-Trujillo, who serves on IDF’s Medical Advisory Committee, provided the Spanish language presentation.

“Every patient and family deserves to have access to quality educational materials regarding their health in a language they understand,” she said. “The presentation is a contribution to improve the understanding of the immune system in our community of patients with primary immunodeficiency.”

Dr. Hernandez-Trujillo is a clinical associate professor at Florida International University Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, medical director for the Division of Allergy and Immunology at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, and pediatric allergist/immunologist at the Allergy and Immunology Care Center of South Florida.

Dr. Hernandez-Trujillo covered the following topics:

  • Immune system function and purpose
  • Innate versus adaptive immune system response
  • Immune system components such as the thymus, bone marrow, and antibodies
  • Key terms related to the immune system including T cells, B cells, NK cells, red and white blood cells, neutrophilsinfo-icon, macrophages, complement, and lymphocytesinfo-icon
  • How PI affects the immune system
  • Symptoms to look for which could indicate a diagnosis of PI
  • Illnesses associated with PI such as autoimmune issues, allergies, and cancer
  • Importance of having an immunologist

IDF Program Manager of Outreach and Inclusion Ashley Ferreira presented an overview of IDF and discussed IDF resources, including publications and information about COVID-19, that are available in Spanish.

“IDF is really trying to ramp up efforts to make sure that every zebra will have an opportunity to be diagnosed or to have resources to help them manage their PI,” said Ms. Ferreira.

While many attendees had experience with PI, others coped with different medical conditions such as lupus, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and chronic allergies. After the presentation, participants asked close to two dozen questions about topics like how to maintain the immune system, eczema, rheumatoid arthritis, and COVID-19.

“One of the things that is interesting to note is we did appear to have quite a few caretakers there for either their child or their parents, so they had questions about the immune system related to their loved ones,” said Ms. Ferreira.

The forum drew participants from several states including California, Washington, Texas, and Florida, as well as from Puerto Rico, Peru, Ecuador, and Mexico. Several expressed their appreciation for the forum through the webinar chat option.

“Thanks to the presentation, now they understand there are certain symptoms they need to look out for,” said Ms. Ferreira.

To access IDF’s Spanish language videos and publications, click here.

IDF will also offer programming in Spanish at the 2021 Primary Immunodeficiency Conference June 23-26, and at upcoming Get Connected Groups. To register for the 2021 PI Conference or to learn more, click here.

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