Patient-Centered, Culturally-Grounded Interpretation in Mental Health Care

Immigrants with limited English proficiency (LEP) receive poorer quality health care, are less likely to understand and adhere to their treatment plans, and report lower treatment satisfaction with services compared to those who are proficient in English (Jacobs, Chen, Karliner, Agger-Gupta, & Mutha, 2006). While the use of professional language interpreters is associated with greater health care utilization and quality of care, traditional models of interpretation do not systematically address the cultural and relational factors that contribute to treatment disparities.

With Roberto Lewis-Fernandez and colleagues at the Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, our research team is working to develop a model of patient-centered, culturally-grounded interpreter-mediated mental health care.  A pilot project conducted at New York Presbyterian Hospital and Hamilton Madison House with Spanish-speaking and Chinese-speaking monolingual outpatients has recently been completed.  Our long-term goal is to explore the efficacy of interpreter-brokers to improve patient engagement and treatment outcomes for LEP patients.

Collaborators: Roberto Lewis-Férnandez (Columbia University and the New York State Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence).  Research team:  Pei-Chen Hsu, Ph.D. (Hamilton Madison House), Wilma Alvarado-Little (University of Albany), Elaine Hsieh, Ph.D. (University of Oklahoma); Monica Thomas, M.A., William Somerville, M.A., and Jon Dimond, M.A. (New School for Social Research)

Funding provided by: NYS Office of Mental Health, New York State Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence


Bridging Cultural Distance: Strategies for Working with Interpreters to Enhance Mental Health Care for Patients with Limited English Proficiency

New York State Office of Mental Health Cultural Competence Webinar, presented April 2012

Doris F. Chang, Ph.D. (New School for Social Research and NYSPI Center of Excellence for Cultural Competence)

Wilma Alvarado-Little, M.A., MSW (Community Engagement/ Outreach Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities, University of Albany, SUNY).

For other free cultural competence webinars sponsored by the NYS Office of Mental Health, click here.