209496 Roles and responsibilies of trained health care interpreters in reducing cancer disparities for Southeast Asian women

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 9:30 AM

Tu-Uyen Ngoc Nguyen, PhD, MPH , Asian American Studies, California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), Fullerton, CA
Marjorie Kagawa-Singer, PhD, RN, MN , Department of Community Health Sciences, UCLA School of Public Health and Asian American Studies Center, Los Angeles, CA
Susan K. Choi, MS , PALS for Health, Los Angeles, CA
Nisarat Kotchasak , PALS for Health, Los Angeles, CA
Audrey Doan , PALS for Health, Los Angeles, CA
Varaporn Chitsilcharoen , PALS for Health, Los Angeles, CA
Tina Vasinamakin , PALS for Health, Los Angeles, CA
The lack of professionally trained interpreters and interpretation services are major barriers to cancer screening, diagnosis, follow-up, and proper treatment. 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. Our pilot study used a community-based participatory action research approach and quasi-experimental design to assess the effect of having trained bicultural health care interpreters on the use of, and satisfaction with, breast and cervical health services for LEP Thai and Vietnamese women in Southern California.

Trained community interviewers conducted a survey and qualitative phone interviews with 50 Thai and 50 Vietnamese LEP women aged 20-81 years old (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. Our study aims were 1)to describe factors that encourage patients to access trained health care interpreters for breast and cervical cancer care and 2)to explain how having a bicultural, trained health care interpreter affects communication between patients and medical providers.

Convenience, cost, and availability of trained interpreters were major factors affecting respondents' use of interpretation services. Participants expressed that the qualities of an “ideal” interpreter went beyond language fluency to include issues of trust, culture, emotional support, interpersonal communication, and how to “navigate” the health care ocean. We will share detailed study findings and discuss recommendations for supporting institutional policies mandating health interpretation services.

Learning Objectives:
• Explain factors that encourage low-income, immigrant Thai and Vietnamese patients to access trained health care interpreters for breast and cervical cancer care • Describe the various roles and responsibilities of trained health care interpreters in helping Southeast Asian women to access and navigate breast and cervical health services. • Compare the perspectives and experiences of patients with trained health care interpreters and those without trained interpreters regarding communication with their providers. • Discuss recommendations for enforcement and support of institutional policies mandating health care interpretation services.

Keywords: Interpreters, Asian Americans

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the project leader on this study and was involved in all aspects of the research.
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.