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Impact of Interpreters on Cancer Care Access and Delivery for Thai and Vietnamese Patients

Pilot Abstract

Studies indicate that limited English proficient patients who do not used trained medical interpreters have fewer visits to clinicians, receive fewer preventive services, are less likely to use or return to clinics, receive less testing and prescriptions, score lower on health Knowledge, and have longer hospital stays than English speaking patients. Unfortunately, there is little data on the factors that discourage, motivate, enable, and/or support access to interpretation services for underserved Southeast Asian communities. This pilot study proposes to use a mixed-method approach to assess the effect of trained bicultural health care interpreters on both use of, and satisfaction with, cancer control services for limited English proficient (LEP) Thai and Vietnamese women in Southern California. The four specific study aims are to: 1) Conduct a quantitative and qualitative survey with 100 LEP Thai and Vietnamese women to describe differences in the needs and resources, as well as the effectiveness of health care experiences, between 25 Thai and 25 Vietnamese patients who have used trained professional health care interpreters and 25 Thai and 25 Vietnamese patients who have not used trained interpreters for breast and cervical cancer-related health appointments for screening, diagnosis, treatment and follow-up care; 2) Identify the individual and community factors that best enable patients to access trained professional health care interpreters for cancer care; 3) Explain how having a bicultural trained professional health care interpreter affects communication between these patients and their medical providers; and 4) Generate preliminary data to prepare for RO1 study to develop and evaluate the effects of a community-based participatory research program to promote and increase access to and use of culturally competent trained health care interpreters for Southeast Asian communities seeking cancer services. Using a community-based participatory research approach and an ecological framework, we will partner with PALS for Health to recruit Thai and Vietnamese patients from their database and the general community to learn how to provide better access to trained medical interpreters for LEP patients. PALS for Health's mission is to provide language services to break down cultural and linguistic barriers to health. This pilot proposal would thus contribute important and useful information to develop effective interventions that could decrease the cancer morbidity and mortality for Thai and Vietnamese women.

Updated: 07/23/09