Partnerships Make Everything better
How many children have the knowledge or the vocabulary required to relay medical information to their parents during a meeting with a doctor?
My guess is not many.
And yet, unfortunately, this is a routine situation faced by children whose parents have a limited grasp of the English Language. It is even more commonplace between medical volunteers who serve those unable to obtain basic health maintenance services through the traditional healthcare system and their low English proficiency patients. In 2014, Health Protection and Education Services (HPES), a medical nonprofit that provides free health screenings, encountered this very problem. As nearly 50 percent of the 693 clients served in 2015 indicated that English was not their primary language, concerns began to grow about language interpreting that was conducted by family members and well-meaning, bilingual volunteers during consultations.
Through collaboration with Language Access Multicultural People (LAMP), HPES improved its health systems and better delivered appropriate services to diverse populations in the St. Louis area, which helped to improve outcomes and reduce health disparities. LAMP’s interpreter and cultural competency trainings were instrumental in HPES’s success. Evaluation shows that together LAMP and HPES have managed to reduce the negative impact of language barriers on health outcomes for patients with limited English proficiency. We are excited to see how many more positive impacts come as a result of our team effort serving the community
Our other notable accomplishments include:
• 63 medical and nonmedical volunteers trained in cultural competency
• 4 bi-lingual volunteers received Bridging the Gap medical interpreter training and use their new skill sets providing interpretive services at health screenings throughout the community
• 3 new languages incorporated in health
promotion materials: Russian, Vietnamese and Bosnian – bringing the total languages provided to seven (including English).
Cultural competency works! In our on-going collaboration with LAMP, HPES is able to establish a set of behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system. This system enables us to work effectively and reduce health disparities throughout the St. Louis region.
Executive Director for Health Protection and Education Services