Date of Award

Spring 5-16-2014

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)

Department

Public Health

First Advisor

Dr. Ike Okosun

Second Advisor

Dr. Kim Ramsey-White

Abstract

Background: Over 73,000 refugees entered the U.S. in 2010. The majority of the refugee population has limited English proficiency (LEP), which is a challenge for those seeking healthcare. People with LEP are often deterred by language barriers from seeking healthcare. Interpreter services are available in some healthcare settings to help improve the communication between physicians and these patients. The availability of interpreters at primary care offices could help encourage the utilization of health services among patients with LEP.

Objectives: To identify primary care offices that provide medical interpreter services in areas around the city of Clarkston, GA. To produce a reference sheet that identifies primary care doctors and the languages available for interpretation at those offices.

Methods: Data on the availability of medical interpreter services was collected through the phone. Google Map was used to identify public transit routes (bus/train) and time to travel from the center of Clarkston to the medical offices.

Results: Less than 50% of family practice, internal medicine, and pediatric offices provide medical interpreter services. It was found that the most common languages available for interpretation are Vietnamese, Spanish, and Mandarin. Interestingly, the current refugee populations arrive from various regions in Africa and Asia. The common languages among these groups are Bhutanese, Burmese dialects, and Farsi. The offices that provide interpreter services with languages relevant to the current refugee population are located more than 30 minutes of travel time by public transit from the center of Clarkston.

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