Consider Culture and Language When Communicating About Health (HLOL #171)

Wilma Alvarado-Little MA, MSW focuses on health equity from a linguistic and cultural perspective. She serves as the Associate Commissioner for New York State’s Department of Health and Director of its Office of Minority Health & Health Disparities. Her experience includes work in public policy, research, health literacy, and health disparities prevention. Alvarado-Little also is a healthcare interpreter and has helped develop numerous hospital and clinic-based programs. She is an invited participant on many national and statewide boards that address issues of culture and language in healthcare.

In this podcast, Wilma Alvarado-Little talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Culture in health communication has many dimensions. Beyond issues of race and ethnicity, includes factors such as socioeconomic status, communication preferences, and even work schedules.
  • Language includes written words, spoken words, and numbers along with body language, context, and potential distractions.
  • Ways to consider culture and language in all forms of health communication.

More ways to learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 7, 15, 18, 27

Read the transcript of this podcast.

Communicating About Food in Culturally Sensitive Ways (HLOL #159)

j-o-frempong-photoJanet Ohene-Frempong, MS, is a plain language and cross-cultural communications consultant with over 25 years of experience in consumer communications. She brings to this work a passion for health literacy and background as a registered dietitian. Janet often is invited to speak at national conferences and provides consultation on plain language and cross-cultural communications for a wide range of health information providers. Deservedly, Janet has received many honors and accolades for her work.

In this podcast, Janet Ohene-Frempong and Helen Osborne discuss:

  • Communicating about food in a multicultural world. Why this matters today.
  • Issues to consider such as whether foods are available, affordable, convenient, appropriate, and familiar.
  • Examples of respectful and inclusive ways to communicate about food. Why doing so is not only appropriate but also can be deeply satisfying and gratifying.

More Ways to Learn:

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 1, 13, 18, 27

Read the transcript for this podcast.

Understanding One Another Even When Language and Accents Differ (HLOL #79)

Barbara Hoekje, Ph.D, is associate professor of communication in the Department of Culture and Communication at Drexel University. She also directs Drexel University’s English Language Center. Hoekje’s focus is about furthering communication and understanding between people of different language and cultural backgrounds. For many years, she has worked with international graduate teaching assistants and international medical graduates in the United States.

In this podcast, Barbara Hoekje talks with Helen Osborne about:

  • Why the U.S. healthcare workforce is becoming increasingly diverse.
  • How speech patters differ even among those who speak the same language and come from the same country.
  • Strategies that providers and patients can use to improve oral understanding.
  • Ways to set a tone that welcomes everyone into our larger world family.

More ways to learn:

To contact Barbara Hoekje: Hoekje@drexel.edu or 215 895-2067.

For instructors of international doctors/healthcare professionals:

Hoekje B, Tipton S, English Language and the Medical Profession: Instructing and Assessing the Communication Skills of International Physicians (2011, Emerald Press).

For patients and others on the receiving end of health communication: Books, tapes, other resources on nonviolent communication by Marshall Rosenberg.

For foreign born doctors and others health professionals:

  • Resources from the website of the acculturation program of the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) (www.ecfmg.org/acculturation/index.html)
  • Chapter on “Language and Communication” by Barbara Hoekje and Marta van Zanten in The International Medical Graduate’s Guide to US Medicine & Residency Training (by P. Alguirre, G. Whelan, and V. Rajput), published by the American College of Physicians, 2008.
  • Practice materials, such as Good practice: Communication skills in English for the medical practitioner (by Marie McCullagh and Roz Wright, published by Cambridge University Press); book and CD

Health Literacy from A to Z: Practical Ways to Communicate Your Health Message, Second Edition (Updated 2018), by Helen Osborne. Relevant chapters include: 15, 18.

Read a transcript of this podcast.

A Participatory Approach for Communicating with Diverse Audiences (HLOL #31)

Linda Neuhauser, DrPH, is Clinical Professor of Community Health and Human Development at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health. Her work focuses on translating research into improved health interventions and mass communication. Dr. Neuhauser is especially interested in participatory approaches that meet the literacy, linguistic, and cultural needs of diverse audiences. She is Co-Principal Investigator of the UC Berkeley Health Research for Action Center that uses participatory design to create, implement and evaluate communication initiatives that have now reached over 30 million people.

In this podcast, she talks with Helen Osborne about participatory and user-centered approaches to health communication.

Topics include:

  • Communication challenges for both givers and receivers of information
  • A structured approach to participatory, user-centered design
  • Overcoming objections of limited time, money, or other resources

More Ways to Learn:

  • Neuhauser L, Rothschild R, Graham C, et al. “Participatory Design of Mass Health Communication in Three Languages for Seniors and People With Disabilities on Medicaid,” American Journal of Public Health. 2009;99 (12).
  • Neuhauser L, Constantine WI, Constantine NA, et al. “Promoting Prenatal and Early Childhood Health: Evaluation of a Statewide Materials-based intervention for Parents. American Journal of Public Health. 2007;97(10):1813-1819.
  • Health Literacy Out Loud Podcast #13: Len & Ceci Doak Discuss Health Literacy’s Past, Present, and Future (includes a discussion of the SAM materials assessment tool), Available at http://www.healthliteracyoutloud.com/2009/03/23/hlol-13-len-ceci-doak-discuss-health-literacy’s-past-present-and-future/

Read a transcript of this podcast 

Developing Healthcare Materials With and For Village Health Workers (HLOL #18)

Curt Wands-Bourdoiseau is a physician assistant who has worked in free and community clinics across the United States. He has also trained village health workers in rural, isolated and conflict zones in Southern Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and Colombia. Curt now works at the Hesperian Foundation in Berkeley, CA – serving as the project manager for the first major rewrite of the internationally renowned village health worker training book, Where There Is No Doctor.

In this podcast, he talks with Helen Osborne about developing healthcare materials with and for village health workers. Topics include:

  • Overview about the Hesperian Foundation
  • About Hesperian’s books, including Where There Is No Doctor
  • Materials development process using the participatory model
  • Lessons learned and shared with the health literacy community

Ways to Learn More:

Hesperian Foundation (English): http://www.hesperian.org
Hesperian Foundation (Spanish): http://espanol.hesperian.org

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