Design Your Patient Handouts and Surveys with Low Literacy in Mind 

The ability of any patient or caregiver to communicate ailments/symptoms, medical history (personal and family), and other medical information is vital to proper care. Similarly, while it is important to assess the patient and/or family’s experience of care, many satisfaction surveys used in healthcare settings are designed without attention paid to low literacy, language barriers, and...
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Taking Medicine Correctly Isn’t Easy: How to Improve Adherence

Low health literacy has been closely associated with medication non-adherence and errors which lead directly to increased hospitalizations and higher medical costs. This has direct impact on the success of the “triple aim” – reducing healthcare costs, improving patient satisfaction, and health outcomes. Providers need to identify patients with limited health literacy and tailor...
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Screening for Pregnancy-related Depression In Private Practice Settings: Cross-Cultural Considerations

  Although the cultural aspects of the pregnancy-related period have been studied extensively worldwide, the impact of cultural factors upon pregnancy-related depression ( also known as postpartum depression) has been less investigated. Most research into pregnancy-related depression has been conducted in Western, developed countries (see reviews by Kumar, 1994; O’Hara & Swain,...
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Cross-Cultural Considerations in Prescribing Medication

Culturally-based health beliefs and behaviors drive adherence to treatment recommendations. Since many mental health clients enter the mental health system via a referral from their primary care physician, how their physician shapes expectations is very important. A previous article “Effective Mental Health Referrals” covers best practices for primary care providers to follow in...
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Effective Mental Health Referrals

Referrals to mental health services by medical providers are often problematic in cross-cultural encounters. Mental health services in the United States are based on cultural assumptions relevant to members of the mainstream society, but these assumptions may not be as relevant for people outside the dominant culture. Thus, clients from different cultural backgrounds may not understand what the...
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The Challenge of Low Health Literacy Among Patients and Caregivers of ALL Cultures

Recognizing the impact of low health literacy on patient compliance and health outcomes is extremely important. A strong body of evidence points directly to the importance of caregiver health literacy as a factor in child health outcomes specifically. Education, written literacy, numerical literacy, socio-economic status, limited English proficiency and culturally-based understanding of illness...
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Conversations with Hispanic Parents About Flu Shots

According to the CDC 2011-2012 National Immunization Survey (NIS) report on flu vaccine coverage, *Hispanic adults 18 and older have the lowest influenza vaccination rates in the United States. Only 29.4% of Hispanic adults got a flu shot last year compared to 47.6% of white non-Hispanic adults. Perhaps surprisingly, Hispanic children 6 months to 17 years have the highest rates of flu...
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How Individualism and Collectivism Manifest in Child Rearing Practices

Pediatricians providing anticipatory guidance to parents from diverse cultural backgrounds need to understand the different value systems operating in individualistic and collectivist societies. Questions about child behavior, development and parenting are central to well-child visits, and pediatricians will encounter a range of parenting styles and beliefs that may be at odds with their...
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