203009 Impact of interpreters on breast and cervical health care access for Thai and Vietnamese patients

Monday, November 9, 2009

Tu-Uyen Ngoc Nguyen, PhD, MPH , Asian American Studies, California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), Fullerton, CA
Marjorie Kagawa-Singer, PhD, RN, MN , UCLA School of Public Health and Asian American Studies Center, Los Angeles, CA
Tina Vasinamakin , PALS for Health, Los Angeles, CA
Studies show that limited English proficient (LEP) patients who do not use trained medical interpreters have less access to quality health care services and experience more adverse health consequences than English speaking patients. Unfortunately, little data exists on the factors that discourage, motivate, enable, and/or support access to interpretation services for underserved Southeast Asian communities. This pilot study used a community-based participatory action research approach, ecological framework, and mixed-methods to assess the effect of having trained bicultural health care interpreters on the use of, and satisfaction with, cancer control services for LEP Thai and Vietnamese women in Southern California.

Trained community interviewers conducted a survey and qualitative phone interviews with 100 LEP Thai and Vietnamese women recruited from patient databases to compare the experiences of those who had used trained professional health care interpreters to those who had not used trained interpreters.

Most patients overwhelmingly expressed the need and desire for professional trained health care interpreters. Those who had trained interpreters also reported greater satisfaction with care. Respondents expressed that the qualities of an “ideal” interpreter went beyond language fluency and medical interpretation to include issues of trust, emotional support, and knowledge of how to “navigate” the health care system.

We will share detailed study findings and feedback from community forums held to discuss the results. Community members indicated that more research on interpretation services would be welcomed, more awareness and utilization of programs offering professional interpretation services are needed, and development of policies to sustain these programs is essential.

Learning Objectives:
1) Explain how professional health care interpreters help Thai and Vietnamese women to access breast and cervical health services. 2) Describe the important roles and responsibilities of trained health care interpreters in establishing trusting interpersonal relationships with patients and providers. 3) Compare the perspectives and experiences of patients with trained health care interpreters and those without trained interpreters regarding satisfaction with their health care. 4) Discuss policy implications for developing and sustaining professional health care interpretation training programs.

Keywords: Interpreters, Community-Based Health Promotion

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been actively involved in the presentation, gathering of materials, review of audio translation – transcription work (Thai), and outreaching for participants through my work at PALS for Health (Language Access – training, advocacy, interpretation and translation agency) and as a team member of the project. I am fully aware about the topic at hand and have had full on experience through my work as a Program Coordinator for PALS for Health, such as coordinating and dispatching interpretation request, educating the community and patients about language access rights, and also as a member to various community based breast cancer organizations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.