EBM and Clinical Support Librarians@UCHC

A blog for medical students, faculty and librarians about their use of evidence based medicine, clinical literature, Web 2.0, sources and search strategies

Consumer/Patient Health, Education, News: Clinicians Communicating with Diverse Patient Populations

An intriguing (and somewhat elusive) reference question from a faculty member a few months ago was: how to measure whether clinicians in the U.S. are providing “culturally competent care” to their patients who may hail from diverse cultural backgrounds. This proved to be a challenging search. I recap some of the websites which were useful to this question below. Each of these sources are freely available, open access.

  • Sponsored by the American Medical Association Foundation and the American Medical Association, Dr. Barry Weiss wrote a 67-page manual entitled “Health Literacy and Patient Safety: Help Patients Understand – Manual for Clinicians (2nd edition). The report is available online at: http://www.ama-assn.org/ama1/pub/upload/mm/367/healthlitclinicians.pdf
  • CulturedMed presents a wide-ranging group of resources; the page is sponsored by State University of New York Institute of Technology (which offers degree programs in Health Services Management). On this site is a list – compiled by a librarian – of health materials in languages other than English.
  • The EthnoMed site “contains information about cultural beliefs, medical issues and other related issues pertinent to the health care of recent immigrants to Seattle or the U.S., many of whom are refugees fleeing war-torn parts of the world“. The guides are produced by volunteer physicians, residents and librarians.
  • Coalition for Health Communications (CHC) is a consortium group made up of the Health Communications divisions of American Public Health Association, International Communication Association and National Communications Association.
  • Health information in more than 80 languages can be searched and printed out from the website run by Refugee Health Information Network (RHIN), which describes itself as a “national collaborative partnership managed by refugee health professionals, whose objective is to provide quality multilingual, health information resources for those providing care to resettled refugees and asylees“. All materials available on the RHIN website are freely available.
  • Also found on the RHIN site: A recent report written by Kate Flewelling, a National Library of Medicine Associate Fellow, entitled “Addressing the Need for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Health Information for Newly Arriving Refugee Populations“. Click this link to read her 27-page report released in Aug 2008 (PDF).


On the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) there are a variety of links regarding culturally competent health care. Here are a few of those subject specific pages:


Finally, in consideration of learning complex folkways and routines in daily American life that immigrant families must master, here are two sites providing supporting information and sources for referrals about ‘acculturation’:

  • Bridging Refugee Youth and Childrens’ Services (BRYCS). This website provides many diverse information sources for individuals or families who may be in need of referrals to social services, counseling, settling into a community or other activities of daily life. As a librarian, I found their subject-specific Annotated Bibliography links very informative.

2 responses to “Consumer/Patient Health, Education, News: Clinicians Communicating with Diverse Patient Populations

  1. Karen Vargas October 3, 2008 at 2:46 PM

    MedlinePlus also has health information in over 40 languages: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/languages/languages.html

  2. Nadine A. Bendycki October 10, 2008 at 6:16 PM

    This is a wonderful resource – thank you for compiling! I am a health care marketer/communicator, with training in Medical/Cultural Anthropology and I am very interested in this topic. I have just published a paper in Marketing Health Services entitled, “Health Literacy: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt Your Hospital” as a “call to arms” to my profession, which to date has not paid any heed to this important issue.

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