Beyond Bilingual and Bicultural: Serving Latinos in a New-Growth Community

Deirdre Lanesskog, Lissette M. Piedra, Stephanie Maldonado

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study explores how human services providers in “new-growth” communities—those with rapidly growing Latino immigrant populations and limited Spanish-speaking professionals—work with newcomers who tend to be Spanish-speaking and poor. We interviewed 25 human service professionals working with Latino immigrants in one new-growth community and found that service delivery to Latinos requires not just language ability and cultural knowledge, but the convergence of four distinct skill sets: (a) language skills; (b) cultural competence; (c) empathy; and (d) the provider’s will to act. We use these findings to illuminate institutional roadblocks and strategies to create a more effective service environment for providers and the Latino newcomers they serve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-317
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Cultural Diversity in Social Work
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2 2015


  • Latinos
  • human services
  • immigrants
  • new-growth communities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Education


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