Health-care providers working to combat language barriers

For health care providers serving culturally diverse patient populations, one of the biggest impediments is lack of resources in appropriate languages, according to a recent national report.

But local hospitals are bringing down the language barrier in a number of ways, including using interpreters, bilingual staffers, training programs and language lines.

“It’s difficult for patients who come from foreign countries to work their way through a system when they don’t understand the language and the health system,” said Mariam Merced, director of community health promotions at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick. “There is a cultural barrier and language barrier, so finding people they can communicate with in their own language puts them at ease and makes the process better for them and the provider.”

 

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JSNMA is the flagship publication of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). As the voice of the SNMA, it serves as an educational and outreach tool to upcoming doctors and researchers. Journal topics include medical education, research, health advocacy, career opportunities, cultural competency and community outreach.

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About the Author: JSNMA is the flagship publication of the Student National Medical Association (SNMA). As the voice of the SNMA, it serves as an educational and outreach tool to upcoming doctors and researchers. Journal topics include medical education, research, health advocacy, career opportunities, cultural competency and community outreach.

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