We are excited to announce a special initiative with the American Medical Students Association. As an NIH supported organization, our mission is to bridge the language gap in healthcare and improve care for patients who do not speak English. As part of initiatives building up to the upcoming National Medical Spanish Week, we are providing free access to our popular online medical Spanish course for AMSA members at http://amsa.canopyapps.com.
Dr. Christine O'Dea discusses the scope of the language barrier in healthcare and the importance of learning medical Spanish.
As health care providers, it is our responsibility to provide comfort and act as a source of information for all the patients we see. Language barriers can make this extremely difficult, especially when compounded by the shaky inexperienced hands of young medical students. It is vitally important for all young health professionals to properly educate themselves in the language and necessary skills before endeavoring to care for people from different cultural and linguistic backgrounds.
Journal Of Palliative Medicine: "Patient-Reported Barriers To High-Quality, End-Of-Life Care: A Multiethnic, Multilingual, Mixed-Methods Study"
by Vyjeyanthi S. Periyakoil et al.
A woman called 911 after her husband was attacked with a machete and it took four minutes to connect her to a Spanish-English interpreter over the phone.
The tragic case of Willie Ramirez regarding the mistranslation of a single word -- "intoxicado" -- should serve to fuel action to change the landscape of language services.
We've sourced a few different articles all discussing mistranslations in different spheres: commercial advertising, political and diplomatic communications, healthcare communication, etc. Some of these mistranslations are comical and lighthearted, but some are far less trivial.
This study published in Pediatrics examined the accuracy of the Spanish translations for medicine labels for a group of 286 participating pharmacies in the Bronx, NY.
Susan Mirabal has a masters in biology with a biophysics concentration, experience with health policy, and is a candidate for an M.D. In this blog piece, she offers her personal insights into the immigrant patient experience and she discusses her active efforts to change the linguistic and cultural landscape of healthcare in the future. An inspiring woman and an inspiring read!
A guest blog post by Kaitlin E. Thomas, M.A.
"We live in a unique time when many communities are being forced to reevaluate the manner in which they administer services to demographics that present new linguistic and cultural challenges at an unprecedented rate. Too often the solution is to rely on tools that only serve to widen the gap by producing nonsensical text (a challenge for those with low or nonexistent literacy levels) or essentially belittle the patient by speaking “at” them rather than “with” them, or at worst, not speaking to them at all."
Capped hospital departmental budgets and the lack of reimbursement for interpretation services have slowed the incorporation of language access plans in healthcare....[This] poses the possibility of a catastrophic future that endangers the health and safety of language minority patients, the financial stability of healthcare facilities, and the overall quality of care in our ever-diversifying, multi-cultural country.