Diversity: Medicine and Social Workers Essay

Submitted By lrrowser
Words: 775
Pages: 4

Essay on Diversity
The American healthcare system can be very difficult to navigate. For the average American, the task can be somewhat frustrating. The time spent rushing to be on time for an appointment, figuring out the various types of insurance coverage and co-pays and which physician's services are within your network, not to mention the amount of time spent negotiating medical bills can be very hectic. This is even more frustrating for immigrants living in the United States. They are faced with communication barriers and a lack of experience with the U.S. health system. In addition it appears that some providers are not sensitive to their cultural differences. Therefore, many immigrants do not seek the needed medical attention. There is hope for immigrants and their families! More and more healthcare facilities are becoming equipped with bilingual employees and are offering translation services designed to facilitate communication between immigrants and medical personnel. Many healthcare organizations have expanded their services beyond offering better communication to include the person-in-environment perspective, a social work approach. By using this approach, social workers play an important role in creating programs to help immigrants feel comfortable seeking out medical attention. There seems to be some correlation between language and cultural barriers leading to a fragmented healthcare system among minorities. Language is a main factor in reducing disparities among healthcare organizations. Many organizations are using translation and interpretation services for immigrant patients and are providing training in medical translation to their staff so that pertinent information about the patients' condition does not get overlooked. There is an overreliance on interpreters that can lead medical professionals to make unwarranted assumptions about patients that may be incorrect. Language is only one part of becoming culturally competent. Many organizations need to take a more integrated approach to immigrant services. This is why healthcare organizations have realized the importance of outreach to growing immigrants and the communities they live in. It has become a common practice to have meetings between leaders in immigrant communities and medical personnel to promote health education programs and hold health screening events at churches and other common gathering places. Traveling into the community to meet the people where they are comfortable instead of always having them come to a facility goes a long way in building trust, comfort levels and strong relationships between health care organizations and immigrant families. Many immigrants seeking healthcare are often in need of other services, such as mental health, employment opportunities, and adult education programs. Providing other types of services as a sort of one stop shop for immigrants creates a much needed comfort zone. Many immigrants feel quite overwhelmed with our only medical system, but there are many other systems available to them. However, when many of these services are available in one place and there people willing to spend the much needed time to explain the services and how things work…