How to help families struggling to find their way in a foreign culture
“We are blessed to work in a clinic that has a very large immigrant population. Over the years, we have cared for those who speak over 80+ languages with an even higher number of unique countries and regions represented. Arabic and Spanish are our two most commonly spoken non-English languages. We also have patients who speak unique languages such as Kurdish, Zomi, and Uyghur who do not have a corresponding recognized country affiliated with them. Several of our staff and residents are foreign-born. Many of them are first-generation or come from ethnic homes, and nearly all have a deep appreciation for world cultures. Despite this, there is no way we can know about every unique culture and every corresponding custom. Yet studies have shown that immigrant families are strongly impacted by clinic members’ demeanor towards them and their perceived acceptance of them. Maybe it is the language struggles that make our unspoken actions so important, but it is a factor that needs to be accounted for, especially in COVID times, where even basic facial gestures of greeting are not seen. Families may decide if they want to come back to our clinic based on something that we did or didn’t do, such as simply making them feel welcomed.”
Gabriella Gonzales is a pediatric resident.
She shares her story and discusses her KevinMD article, “A simple act to help families struggling to find their way in a foreign culture.” (https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2020/07/a-simple-act-to-help-families-struggling-to-find-their-way-in-a-foreign-culture.html)