Tip of the Week
This just in from the Minnesota Department of Health: short videos about the vexatious issue of long COVID, translated into Spanish, Somali, Hmong and English, available here.
These videos are a contribution to narrowing the disparities of long COVID on different communities. Minnesotans of color, American Indians, people with disabilities, those who live in rural or low-income areas, people in the LGBTQ community, or those who are homeless or in unstable housing may be more likely to experience long COVID. Find a descriptive sheet on long COVID symptoms, treatment and prevention (in English) here.
An extensive list of related resources and support, again provided by the Minnesota Department of Health in English, is available here.
Take a look at this New York Times article — ‘I Don’t Want to Die’: Fighting Maternal Mortality Among Black Women — that describes the life-saving benefits of a St. Louis doula program.
The article outlines the need for culturally specific care for Black mothers-to-be. “Nationally, Black women are nearly three times as likely to die from a maternal cause as white women: The National Center for Health Statistics reports that in 2020, the maternal mortality rate for Black women was 55.3 deaths per 100,000 live births. The 2020 rate for white women was 19.1 deaths per 100,000 live births.
“Over the years, mounting research and high-profile cases of fatal or near-fatal experiences — from that of the tennis superstar Serena Williams to an epidemiologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — have shown that the grim statistics are often a result of a health care system that leaves Black mothers to fend for themselves.”
Usually we’re concerned with the vicissitudes of communicating across language barriers. But here’s another way to think about how you’re interacting with patients. Recently the New York Times explored a few of the unspoken pitfalls by which patients get a message far removed from your intentions.
For instance, are the robes you offer uncomfortable and unintentionally revealing? Is the exam room freezing? Is the waiting room TV blaring a never-ending litany of disturbing news? Do the stirrups in a gyn exam room face the door? In short, have you created a physical environment in which patients feel respected or devalued?
For a more detailed analysis of the inadvertent non-verbal messages you may be sending, see How Would You Redesign Your Doctor’s Office: The way clinics make patients feel is an important part of their care.
For would-be asylum seekers attempting to enter the US, the road got longer last week, as President Joe Biden announced new restrictions on people fleeing conditions in Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Haiti. Those who simply show up at the border without official paperwork will be denied entry, Biden declared.
In November, more than 82,000 migrants from those four countries crossed into the country illegally.
As many as 30,000 people per month from the four countries will be given the chance to migrate legally to the United States if they can afford a plane ticket, get a sponsor, download an app, pass a background check and meet other requirements.
Biden’s policy shift drew condemnation from all sides. Immigration advocates derided him for doubling down on anti-immigrant measures that were part of the Trump playbook. Meanwhile, Trump-era hardliners said Biden’s new policies would continue to allow thousands of migrants to enter the US while their cases are heard.
For more detailed information on the ongoing immigration imbroglio, check out Biden Announces Major Crackdown on Illegal Border Crossings in the New York Times.
So you’ve tested Covid positive but wonder what your next move should be. Here’s help — for free, and in English, Hmong, Spanish and Somali — for Minnesota residents who have shown Covid symptoms within the past five days. Download the Cue Health app, sign up with a Minnesota address and you qualify for a virtual consult with a licensed clinician who can help you decide whether therapeutic treatment is a sensible option. If the answer is yes, the clinician can send a prescription to your local pharmacy. In some parts of the state, the meds can be delivered directly to your home.
You don’t need health insurance to qualify for treatment. The app is touted as fast and easy by organizers, and accessible to anyone with a mobile device.
Here’s another rendering of the trauma that can underline a refugee’s life, this time describing the flight of “Amin” from Afghanistan as the Taliban takes over. The film, Flee, is a true story, rendered primarily in animation in part to protect the identity of the main characters.
As if Amin’s life weren’t complicated enough — his father has been disappeared, his family will eventually be scattered across Europe after harrowing experiences with traffickers and cops — his attempts to adapt to life in Moscow, Scandinavia and the US are additionally complicated by his identify as a gay man.
The film, by director Jonas Poher Rasmussen, received Oscar nominations for both animated feature and documentary. Interviewed by Rasmussen in Copenhagen, Amin explains, “When you flee as a child, it takes time to learn to trust people,” he says. “You’re constantly on your guard.” The most surprising and affirming moment in this film is when Amin reveals to his family that he is gay.
Unlike most other tips here, there’s a small price tag to stream this video on Amazon Prime, YouTube or Hulu. But at $2.99, it’s probably the best deal you’ll get today.
How to interpret musical performance for the deaf? That’s the question taken up by the video above, where ASL interpreters transform a song for the hard of hearing.
The nuts and bolts of rendering music in ways that will be meaningful and moving to a deaf audience are explored in this Datebook story, “Deaf interpreter helps the emotion of music come through.” Taken together with the video, it’s a fascinating look at the many ways in which music can be experienced.
Here’s a sweet, short video on how to keep your new baby safe, offered up in English, Arabic, Dari, Burmese, Karen, Lingala, Kinyarwanda, Nepali, Pashto, Swahili, Tigrinya, Ukrainian, French, Russian and Spanish.
In simple, direct language, Who She Will Become touches on the importance of car seats, reading to children, barriers to prevent injuries, doctor visits and vaccinations. It’s produced by the University of Minnesota’s National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants and Migrants.
Among the challenges for medical interpreters: how to convey bad news from providers to patients and their families. This hour-and-a-half webinar, presented by InterpretAmerica, takes on the sensitive issues involved.
The recorded webinar is geared toward providing interpreters with tools to anticipate and deal with difficult scenarios. The questions explored here include:
- Should interpreters stick to strict interpretation in emotionally fraught encounters?
- Should they serve as advocates or cultural brokers?
- Should they consider their own emotional quandaries when delivering bad news?
- How do these decision points intersect with the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice?
How long do languages last? Already it’s not uncommon to hear children of immigrants admit they don’t speak their grandparents’ native tongue that well. What about their children and grandchildren? What does it take to save a language?
Here’s a story from the Isle of Man, stuck in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland. In 2009, UNESCO declared the traditional language of the Island, Manx, extinct. A recent story in the New York Times explained, “For centuries, Manx — part of the Celtic language family like Irish and Scottish Gaelic — was how people on the island communicated in their everyday lives. But by the 19th century, the English language had overtaken it, and many on the Isle of Man raised their children to speak only English amid an increasingly derogatory, sometimes even hostile, attitude toward Manx.”
But the islanders did not uniformly buy the argument that their language was dead. Residents pushed to save the old tongue, promoting its use as part of the local school curriculum in addition other tactics. Read the complete story, An Ancient Language, Once on the Brink, Is a British Isle’s Talk of the Town, here.
With RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus) clearing out local school classrooms, here are translated health information sheets that can help ESL patients get a better understanding of a disease with potentially dire outcomes for young children. Below find pieces from various sources in English, Spanish, Hmong and Somali.
Spanish, English, cited on Medline:
- Bronchiolitis (For Parents) (Nemours Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) (March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation) Also in Spanish
- Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection (RSV) in Infants and Young Children (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
- RSV: When It’s More Than Just a Cold (American Academy of Pediatrics) Also in Spanish
- Respiratory Syncytial Virus Infection (RSV) in Older Adults and Adults with Chronic Medical Conditions (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Also in Spanish
English, Spanish, Hmong, from Children’s Hospital
English, Somali from Nationwide Children’s
English, Spanish, Hmong from Children’s Hospital
As if being uprooted from your life isn’t tough enough for refugees and immigrants, there are more dangers once they arrive in the US. Among them: the scam artists waiting to take advantage.
You can learn more about how to recognize predatory scheming and find ways to help your clients steer clear at a webinar training set for 1-2:30 pm, Wednesday, December 7. You’ll get info on the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and important tips on how newcomers can safely open bank accounts, get access to credit, buy cars and transfer money.
A recent story in the New York Times asked the question, Can Republicans and Democrats Find a Way Forward on Immigration? Reporter Eileen Sullivan observes that movement on this sticky issue will necessitate compromise, a quality Washington finds short supply.
Three top issues, Sullivan writes, are:
A deal on the Dreamers — protected for now by the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, these are children who came to the US and grew up here. Many of the hundreds of thousands of immigrants sheltered for now by this program labor in agriculture and manufacturing jobs, industries already struggling to find workers. Having exhausted court appeals that would allow them to stay, their fate now lies in the hands of Congress, Sullivan writes.
Border security — this top Republican priority gained more momentum with the recent record-breaking surge in illegal immigration along the southwest border, as migrants attempt to flee violence and poverty in their native lands. Republicans say they aim to restore the Trump administration’s restrictive policies and complete Trump’s vision of a border wall.
Labor shortages — as the economy adds new jobs, there aren’t enough workers to go around. Democrats and businesses, Sullivan writes, argue for easing labor shortages by loosening work authorization policies and creating less cumbersome paths to citizenship. Republican opposition is based on the contention that immigrants take jobs away from citizens.
Among the consequences of the US collapse in Afghanistan, the war in Ukraine, and the disintegration of Venezuela: an even longer wait for refugee status for people from other parts of the world. The New York Times recently reported that thousands are left “living in limbo as delays in the U.S. refugee system stretch to an average of five years or more.”
The refugee relocation program — gutted by the Trump administration — is now contending both with rebuilding and with relocating 180,000 people escaping Ukraine and Afghanistan. Another 24,000 Venezuelans are hoping to flee their impoverished country. As a result, would-be refugees from Somalia, Eritrea and Myanmar, who in many instances have already waited for years, are pushed toward the end of the line.
This is a typically heart-breaking story of families torn apart, as members already in the US wade through a bog of bureaucracy while they struggle to reunite with their spouses and children.
The New York Times explores another tragic dimension of the immigrant and refugee experience in this story, Missing the Home You Needed to Leave: There is a name for the specific type of grief that both refugees and migrants experience. It’s called “cultural bereavement.”
Defined as more complex and disorienting than culture shock, the Times explains it this way: “Feeling uprooted is something many immigrants are familiar with, split between the here and the back there, between the push to assimilate and the pull to preserve parts of themselves and their culture. And it is often the intangibles from home — the smells and sounds, the metaphors and jokes in a native tongue that can’t be translated, and cherished rituals — that they long for.”
It’s a thought-provoking read, and useful insight for anyone dealing routinely with the disrupted lives of people from so many corners of the world.
True or False: Immigrants will take American jobs, lower wages, and especially hurt the poor.
Get a straight answer to this and 14 other common myths about immigrants in the United States. The Cato Institute’s Alex Nowrasteh examines familiar complaints about immigration in his report, The Most Common Arguments Against Immigration and Why They’re Wrong.
Nowrasteh, the Institute’s director of immigrant studies, draws on years of research to derive his analysis of misguided thinking regarding immigrants’ impact on jobs, wages, crime and more.
So, do immigrants take American jobs? According to Nowrasteh, no. At worst, immigrants only negatively affect the wages of a small number of American workers while raising them for the rest, he observes.
What happens when newly-arrived refugees get a year-long guaranteed income?
An International Institute of Minnesota pilot project is aimed at getting an answer. Intended as a bridge to a stable life in their new home, the program will direct $750 a month for 12 months to 25 families. The project goal, organizers say, “is to demonstrate the impact of a guaranteed income on newly arrived refugees and local economies, and to make known that refugees provide immense cultural, social and economic contributions to Minnesota.”
The money comes with no work requirements or other strings attached. Participants can spend the money as they wish.
Enrolled families had to meet one of these guidelines:
- Single-parent households with children under the age of 15
- Families with four or more children, with one working parent and one parent with obstacles to employment
- Single adults with physical or mental illness limiting their ability to work or obtain employment
- Families or single adults unable to work due to delays in paperwork processing or other barriers beyond their control.
After a lengthy hiatus, the Minnesota Immigrant and Refugee Health Network is back in business. The first meeting is set for 9:30-11 am, Tuesday, October 11. Register by October 10 here. You’ll get instructions on how to join the meeting after you register.
The network is a way to share knowledge, resources and tools among organizations and individuals serving Minnesota’s immigrant and refugee populations. The October meeting will offer an overview of the Minnesota Department of Health’s Refugee and international Health Program and its current activities.
Direct questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
dStuck in your search for translated health education materials for monkeypox? Here are resources to get you started when treating patients with limited English.
From the Minnesota Department of Health: The basics covered in English, Hmong, Somali, Spanish. (Scroll to the bottom of the page for translations.)
From the City and County of San Fransisco: An outreach toolkit in English, Spanish, Filipino and Chinese.
From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Materials in English and Spanish.
From the California Department of Public Health: Social media messaging in Spanish and English.
We’ve previously highlighted the excellent on-line news source, Sahan Journal, as a way to keep up with deep information on the immigrant experience in Minnesota. Here’s another way to make use of this resource as you look for ways to publicize your programs and services.
Journal reporter Hibah Ansari recently compiled a short list of resources publicized in the paper that help make immigrants’ lives easier. Among them, a guide to applying for free school meals in Minnesota, a resource guide for Afghani refugees, an explanation on how to order free COVID tests, and a collection site for donations to Pakistanis displaced by catastrophic flooding there.
Ansari observes that a mention on the website yields results. She writes, “Community support sparked by our coverage made a huge difference in the lives of Afghan refugees. One resettlement agency was able to pay six months’ rent for all of its Afghan clients through donations. A resettlement coordinator told me this was unheard of.”
Wondered whether your health messages to refugees, migrants and immigrants are actually hitting the mark? Here’s a webinar sponsored by the National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants and Migrants where panelists will explain “cultural validation” — the practice of including refugee, migrant and immigrant communities in creating messages that are meaningful because they’re tailored to their cultures. Participants will learn about best practices from the just-developed Cultural Validation and Translation Review Toolkit.
With hundreds of Ukrainian refugees landing in Minnesota, here are directives on required screenings and a guide to resources from the Minnesota Department of Health.
The MDH overview includes information on health screening for TB, immunizations, comprehensive health screenings, health insurance and clinical guidelines for providers serving Ukrainians.
You’ll also find handouts translated to Russian and Ukrainian that direct new arrivals to Resettlement Program Offices Family Assisters, info to help community members connect to Ukrainian sponsorship programs, and organizations providing support to Ukrainians in Minnesota, such as Stand with Ukraine Minnesota and Ukrainian American Community Center: MN Refugee Portal.
Wondering where the latest refugees come from? The Minnesota Department of Health reports that of the 1,089 new arrivals in 2021, the overwhelming majority arrived from Afghanistan, followed by people from Congo, Somalia and Burma. The 2021 total is a 172 percent increase over the numbers resettling in Minnesota during 2020.
Seventy-one percent of those refugees ended up in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties,
From January 1, 2022 through May 31, 2022, early data shows that 847 refugees landed in Minnesota, with 78% of those from Afghanistan,
Here’s a treasure chest of low literacy health information videos from Georgia State University. Developed with refugees and cultural community members, this toolkit features short videos in 14 languages that cover topics such as blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol, nutrition, a women’s annual doctor visit, patient-provider communication and how to time contractions for pregnant women.
Available languages include Amharic, Arabic, Burmese, Dari, English, French, Karen, Kinyarwanda, Nepali, Pashto, Somali, Spanish, Swahili and Tigrinya.
Find the website here: https://hit.gsucreate.
Usually we are concerned here with how to use language more effectively to understand others. Here’s another dimension of the effort to see the world as others see it. In Between Us: How Cultures Create Emotions, author Batja Mesquita explores the interaction between culture and emotion. Emotions, she maintains, are different in what she terms WEIRD cultures — Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich and Democratic) — and most of the rest of the world.
One example: We assume that it’s healthy to express our emotions. But in many parts of Asia and Africa, it’s taken as a sign of immaturity. “Calmness,” Mesquita writes, “is a preferred emotion in a culture that expects you to put the group’s needs above your own.”
As an illustration of how emotions sometimes fail to translate, Mesquita inventories feelings that have no words in other languages. Polish, for instance has no term for disgust. Japanese, however, uses the same word for shame and embarrassment.
As noted here before, this is a world in which languages are disappearing at a frantic rate. Linguists predict that 90 percent of languages will become obsolete over the next century.
Zoe Yu explores this topic in a New York Times op-ed piece, Endangered Languages Are Worth Saving. She posits that the subtle differences in language can change our perceptions of reality. “Have you ever wondered why “death” is feminine in some paintings but masculine in others?” she asks. “It turns out that the gendering of nouns in an artist’s native language plays a role in how he or she decides to bring abstract concepts to life. Beyond art, researchers have also found links between language and perceptions of time, color and emotion.”
Just about everybody knows there’s a disparity in health outcomes between LEP patients and native English speakers. From Harvard researchers, here’s a partial explantation.
In a recently published study in JAMA Pediatrics, the study team established that LEP patients are less apt to ask providers follow up questions regarding their children’s treatment.
Compared to English-speaking families, the LEP families were half as likely to speak up when something seemed wrong and about one-fifth as likely to question the decisions of healthcare professionals.
“Nobody knows a child better than their parents, we should be listening to them,” said researcher Nancy Spector in STAT, a news publication covering health and life sciences.
Family members can often be more able to notice abnormal behavior in their children than providers, and more likely to see when things are going wrong. To make sure that LEP patients are more inclined to ask followup questions, the researchers recommended that interpreters be present for all interactions between doctors and LEP patients or families with LEP.
Here’s a new podcast that opens a window into Hmong culture in America. Hmonglish is hosted by Yia Vang — a James Beard-nominated chef — and Gia Vang, a former anchor at KARE-11.
Interviewed recently by MPR Morning Edition host Cathy Wurzer, the podcasters describe some of the tribulations of being school kids, interpreters and cultural navigators while coming up in Minnesota.
Here’s Yia Vang on searching for the Hmonglish word in English that doesn’t exist in Hmong: “The word “Hmonglish” is this idea that as Hmong kids growing up, we had to speak Hmong to our parents but then there were words and concepts that we just didn’t understand. So for example, how do you say computer in Hmong, there’s no word for computer, or if there is, it’s a long phrase, or even like the word Netflix. There’s no way of explaining what Netflix is like, Netflix is actually just part of the Hmong language. Now, YouTube is part of the Hmong language.
“We jokingly just call that ‘Oh, that’s Hmonglish.’ It’s also the way that this third culture works. You have the Hmong culture and then you have the western culture. And then, people like me and Gia, we kind of fall in that middle where we straddle both cultures.”
If you’re looking for a deep repository of COVID materials in translation, it’s worth making this Minnesota Department of Health site your first call for help. With fact sheets, videos, posters and signs, plus toolkits, it’s a solid collection of material ranging from the straight-forward information on how to wear a mask, to more complex guidance on anti-viral and monoclonal treatments. In addition to translated material in many languages spoken in Minnesota, you’ll also find pieces like the ASL video above.
In a health care environment it’s not the same as offering in-person interpretation, but recent additions to the languages offered by Google Translate help make the world a smaller place.
In ‘Allinllachu.’ Google Translate Adds Quechua to Its Platform, the New York Times explains how Google has added Quechua, an indigenous tongue spoken by an estimated eight to ten million people in Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador, to its growing library of translated languages.
Quechua, the Times observes, is among 24 languages, spoken by an estimated 300 million people worldwide, added by Google to its translation service in the past month. Heavily represented in this new cache are mostly oral languages spoken by Indigenous or minority populations. Quechua is one example; another is Lingala, spoken by 45 million Central Africans.
Kaypi qhawaykuy. (That’s check it out here, in Quechua.)
What do refugees have that people in Missoula, Montana generally do not? For one thing, deep understanding of the food from their old homes. That treasure of knowledge and skill has been harnessed by a Missoula social service agency, United We Eat @Home. The organization lined up refugee chefs with a commercial kitchen and a crowd of customers who get on the phone to order the day’s take-out meals the minute they go on sale. Good luck beating your way through the competition — often enough the meals sell out in less than 30 minutes.
Among the dishes available: baba ganoush, halawa bi smeed (a pistachio-topped semolina pudding), beef kofta, and potato pakura. Needless to say, these are not items on the standard Missoula menu.
Everybody wins: the chefs supplement their family income with food sales, and the Montanans get delicious, exotic meals otherwise unavailable. Read more in the New York Times story that describes the program: Missoula’s Most in-Demand Kitchen Is Run by Refugees.
Here’s a two-hour training that can help you support people suffering from life’s many disorienting events. M Health Fairvew is sponsoring a Psychological First Aid webinar set for Wednesday, June 15, 1 – 3 p.m. that will give you tools to speed recovery for those coping with the aftermath of traumatic events, personal crisis or reactions to public health emergencies or natural disasters.
Organizers say the webinar “integrates public health, community health and individual psychology by drawing upon skills the trainees probably already have. The goal of PFA is to teach trainees how to reduce distress and negative health behaviors by providing practical help and promote resilience.”
Here’s a development in the DeafBlind world that New Yorker reporter Andrew Leland describes as a new language. In DeafBlind Communities May be Creating a New Language of Touch, Leland writes about ProTactile, a mode of communication that moves beyond sign language and into the world of touch, where the body becomes a canvas upon which to project words and ideas. For a demonstration, see the video above.
A central character in this piece is Eden Prairie resident John Lee Clark, an early practitioner and now a ProTactile instructor. As Leland puts it, the ProTactile method “encourag(es) DeafBlind people to reject the stigma, in American culture, against touch, which often leaves them cut off from the world around them. According to Protactile’s principles, rather than waiting for an interpreter to tell her about the apples available at the grocery store, a DeafBlind person should plunge her hands into the produce bins. If a sighted friend pulls out her phone in the middle of a conversation to check a weather alert, she should bring her DeafBlind interlocutor’s hand to her pocket as well, to understand where the weather forecast is coming from.”
If you’re hoping to stay abreast of the broad, fraught and always-changing nature of human communication, this is a piece that ought to be on your list.
President Joe Biden has promised that as many as 100,000 refugees from the war in Ukraine may be resettled in the US. But when and how: those are matters that remain blurry.
For a rundown on the resettlement programs and policies that currently exist, check out a recent piece in the online journal MinnPost, What welcoming Ukrainian refugees to Minnesota might look like. The report details a variety of pathways what will allow Ukrainian refugees to be legal residents. Reporter Greta Kaul acknowledges that there aren’t many straight forward answers so far. She writes, “As of now, it’s not clear what shape the process of welcoming Ukrainians to the U.S. will take, and it’s not even clear how many Ukrainians want to come to the U.S.”
The New York Times weighed in on the Biden administration program Uniting for Ukraine, explaining the steps necessary for US residents to sponsor Ukrainian refugees. “Migrants,” the Times explains, “cannot directly apply. Instead, a sponsor in the United States must apply on their behalf, and then migrants may complete the process after their sponsor is approved.” Sponsors must prove they can financially support the migrant. Expenses could include room and board, plus cash.
Get The Times’ full report at How Americans Can Sponsor Ukrainian Refugees.
(Photo by Michael E)
There’s a world of personal pronouns beyond he/she/they. To name just a few:
Here’s some help from LGBTQNation on navigating the sometimes tricky business of addressing patients and clients in the way they prefer. See Everything You Need to Know about Neopronouns here.
The piece is a run-down on why to be open to an increasingly broad range of personal pronouns, plus an interesting peek at the history of alternate pronouns dating back to at least 1375. You’ll also find information on pronoun usage in other languages, and suggestions on how to support those adopting non-traditional pronouns.
Generally people think of interpretation and translation as a way to solve problems. Here’s a story from St. Paul that proves just the opposite can be true as well.
In Dialect dispute has St. Paul Hmong group calling for Dai Thao to quit; he wants FBI probe, St. Paul Pioneer Press reporter Fred Melo describes a language dispute within the Hmong community over an inscription in Hmong near a Chinese garden pavilion at Lake Phalen.
The flare up is a dialect issue between speakers of Green Hmong and White Hmong, who disagree over whether the correct spelling of what is recognized in English as “Hmong,” should on the stone inscription be “Hmoob” in White Hmong, or “Moob” in Green Hmong.
St. Paul City Councilman Dai Thao stepped into the fight by asking on Facebook why the Green dialect version appeared on the stone. For his trouble he was met with protestors outside city hall who demanded his resignation. Thao said that he had been physically threatened for expressing his opinion, and asked for an FBI investigation.
As if all this weren’t enough, the story is entwined with a Chinese sister city, the cartoonist Charles Schulz, Charlie Brown, Lucy, a Chinese American friendship society, plus Hmong ex-military men seeking a return to a Hmong republic to be established somewhere in South East Asia. Needless to say, the piece is well worth a read for anyone who has ever had a document translated into Hmong.
Here’s an encouraging example of how to work alongside a Native community with public health messaging and support to dramatically boost the ranks of the vaccinated. In a recent CDC blog post, Stories from the Field: The White Earth Nation, the authors explain how officials of the northern Minnesota tribe made a strong effort via a variety of trusted media sources and public events to describe the link between traditional Anishinaabe cultural values and the threat to the community posed by COVID-19.
Among the results:
- White Earth led Minnesota in vaccination rates for many weeks early in the COVID-19 vaccination push;
- More than 16,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine were administered (as of September 2021); and
- More than 93 percent of White Earth Nation’s elders were vaccinated.
As with so much else, when it comes to the impact of climate change, communities of color and the poor will be disproportionately affected by less access to clean air, safe drinking water and shelter, and nutritious food. Find out more at this virtual forum, Advancing Health Equity – Public Health Solutions for Climate Change, scheduled for Friday, April 8, 9-10:30 am.
Sponsored by the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, speakers include:
- Niranjali Amerasinghe, Executive Director, ActionAid
- Melonee Montano, Traditional Ecological Knowledge Outreach Specialist for the Climate Change Program, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission
- Dr. Hyun Kim, Associate Professor, Division of Environmental Health Sciences
- Dr. Jesse Berman (moderator), Assistant Professor, Division of Environmental Health Sciences
The program will highlight policies, practices and programs to counter health inequities both created and worsened by climate change. Register here.
Photo by Kelly Sikkema
Here’s a nicely made video from Red Lake Hospital Indian Health Service that stresses specific Ojibwe cultural values as reasons to get vaccinated against COVID. Among a cast of elders, Dan King, President of Red Lake Nation College and Hereditary Chief, has this to say: “This is where we need to show humility, where we trust the leading edge science and technology that was used to develop these vaccines. We need to be humble and respectful…”
Other speakers hit on the community value to staying strong and healthy and to setting an example for children and grandchildren. The video, produced with the support from the CDC, is well worth a spin on waiting room TV monitors.
Here’s another tool you can use to urge parents to get their kids vaccinated. Five 5-11-year old Minnesotans who have finished the COVID vaccination series are eligible to enter a drawing for a $100,000 scholarship package at any public or private non-profit education institution in Minnesota. The deadline to enter is April 11. More information, plus a link to the entry form, is available here: Kids Deserve a Shot $100,000 Minnesota College Scholarship Drawings. Winners will be chosen on the afternoon of April 15.
Spread the word by using the translated materials below to promote this program on social media:
- Kids Deserve a Shot 5-11 Scholarship (wide) Amharic.pdf
- Kids Deserve a Shot 5-11 Scholarship (square) Amharic.pdf
- Kids Deserve a Shot 5-11 Scholarship (wide) English.jpg
- Kids Deserve a Shot 5-11 Scholarship (square) English.jpg
- Kids Deserve a Shot 5-11 Scholarship (wide) French.pdf
- Kids Deserve a Shot 5-11 Scholarship (square) French.pdf
- Kids Deserve a Shot 5-11 Scholarship (wide) Hmong.pdf
- Kids Deserve a Shot 5-11 Scholarship (square) Hmong.pdf
- Kids Deserve a Shot 5-11 Scholarship (wide) Karen.pdf
- Kids Deserve a Shot 5-11 Scholarship (square) Karen.pdf
- Kids Deserve a Shot 5-11 Scholarship (wide) Oromo.pdf
- Kids Deserve a Shot 5-11 Scholarship (square) Oromo.pdf
- Kids Deserve a Shot 5-11 Scholarship (wide) Russian.pdf
- Kids Deserve a Shot 5-11 Scholarship (square) Russian.pdf
- Kids Deserve a Shot 5-11 Scholarship (wide) Somali.pdf
- Kids Deserve a Shot 5-11 Scholarship (square) Somali.pdf
- Kids Deserve a Shot 5-11 Scholarship (wide) Spanish.pdf
- Kids Deserve a Shot 5-11 Scholarship (square) Spanish.pdf
The rapidly unfolding refugee crisis in Ukraine provoked a heartbreaking and fascinating story in the New York Times recently on the practicalities of flight. If you are forced to leave your home with little chance to plan or to take more than you can stuff in your pockets, what do you bring along? Reporter
Among the answers: a sapphire and silver ring given by a male friend to a young woman who hopes he will still care for her when they are reunited. “Everything changes” during a separation, she tells the Times. “But I have not taken it off my finger since it was given to me.”
Need a translated overview of COVID at-home rapid tests for limited English speakers? Here’s a one-page Minnesota Department of Health info sheet in English and multiple other languages available for download.
- COVID-19 At-Home Rapid Test Overview iHealth (English).pdf
- COVID-19 At-Home Rapid Test Overview iHealth (Amharic).pdf
- COVID-19 At-Home Rapid Test Overview iHealth (Arabic).pdf
- COVID-19 At-Home Rapid Test Overview iHealth (Chinese).pdf
- COVID-19 At-Home Rapid Test Overview iHealth (French).pdf
- COVID-19 At-Home Rapid Test Overview iHealth (Hmong).pdf
- COVID-19 At-Home Rapid Test Overview iHealth (Karen).pdf
- COVID-19 At-Home Rapid Test Overview iHealth (Lao).pdf
- COVID-19 At-Home Rapid Test Overview iHealth (Oromo).pdf
- COVID-19 At-Home Rapid Test Overview iHealth (Russian).pdf
- COVID-19 At-Home Rapid Test Overview iHealth (Somali).pdf
- COVID-19 At-Home Rapid Test Overview iHealth (Spanish).pdf
- COVID-19 At-Home Rapid Test Overview iHealth (Vietnamese).pdf
In addition, find sheets below in English that allow you fill in dates, times and places to pick up free at-home rapid tests at your location and others:
When are medical interpreters simply conduits for information shared between providers and patients — and when do they have an obligation to intervene and advocate on the behalf of patients?
The U.S. National Council on Interpreting in Healthcare (NCIHC) came out last year with a detailed report for interpreters on when and when not to step into the role of advocate.
In some scenarios, the answers are obvious. It’s time to speak up if a surgeon is about to operate on the wrong body part. But what about the advice that a patient follow a diet plan that utterly ignores cultural approaches to diet, cooking and hospitality? The Council’s guidance provides a structure for approaching these dilemmas.
Photo by Hush Naidoo Jade Photography
Having others understand the language you speak is one thing, but having your language survive in the face of globalization is another. That’s the subject that James Griffith takes on in his book, Speak Not: Empire, Identity and the Politics of Language.
Griffith reports on the battles to keep minority languages from going extinct in Wales, Hawaii, southern China, Hong Kong and indigenous America.
You’ll get insight here on how technology both hurts and helps in the fight against minority language extinction. Griffiths explains how languages hang on, the costs when they don’t, and how indigenous tongues can be walked back from the ledge of permanent loss.
The book is garnering reviews in, among other publications, the New Yorker and the LA Review of Books, which called Speak Not “a stimulating work on the politics of language.”
Get an inside view on survival in a war-torn country, as Dr. Okechukwu (Okey) Ukaga, Assistant Dean and Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at the University of Minnesota Extension, appears at the Global Book Club’s virtual meeting to discuss “It Is Well.”
Ukaga grew up in the period of civil war that accompanied Biafra’s brief secession from Eastern Nigeria, during which almost two million Biafran civilians — three-quarters of them children — died from starvation caused by roadblocks enforced by the Nigerian government, (Find a brief rundown on this catastrophe via Wikipedia.)
N95 respirators are the gold standard for keeping COVID-19 at bay. But as with so many things, there’s a right way and a wrong way to use them. Here’s expert guidance from the CDC, in English, and translated into Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Korean and Vietnamese, on how to use an N95 mask correctly. Also included: a reminder that patients with heart and lung problems should consult with a doctor before using an N95, because they can make it harder to breathe.
Here’s a story from the New York Times that’s equal parts romance and practicality. In A Love Language Spoken with Hands, a gay deaf man recounts his relationships with would-be paramours who promise that for him, they will learn sign language to communicate more fully. In his experience, these Romeos are always making a hollow promise — until he finds the man who is actually willing and able to put in the work.
It’s a touching story of love gone right. But it’s also a practical message regarding the power of making an honest effort to communicate with others in their own language.
Here’s another find via the excellent online immigrant/refugee news source, Sahan Journal. In this piece — After having a daughter, Reona Htoo couldn’t find children’s books in the Karen language. So she wrote one herself— St. Paul resident Htoo translates her love of the outdoors, and her effort to pass it on to her 22-month-old daughter, into a picture book aimed at kids one to three years old.
The book, My Little Legs, is a addition to what is otherwise a scant collection of books in Karen. The story notes that there are only 32 Karen-language books available in US libraries. Three of them are published by the St. Paul Public Library.
The story beneath My Little Legs is the discomfort people of color frequently feel in parks and other outdoor spaces. While people of color make up 20 percent of the Minnesota population, they comprise about five percent of state park visitors. See an examination of this issue, and efforts to address it, in a Sahan Journal article here.
Buy a copy of My Little Legs direct from Htoo by contacting her at NawHaChu@gmail.com.
If you’ve spent time studying Old Testament iconography (and who hasn’t?), you may have wondered why Moses is often depicted with horns after having talked with God on Mount Sinai and descended with the ten commandments.
Why the horns? It’s the result of a faulty translation of tricky language from Hebrew to Latin. The more apt description of Moses’s countenance upon his return from the mountaintop is probably “glorified.” However, the translator, St. Jerome, wandered into usage of the term “horned.” Hence Michelangelo’s version of Moses, right, is which the prophet appears somewhat goat-ish.
Today in a modern healthcare environment, you can take this as yet one more example of how translation and interpretation can get seriously off the tracks. For a more thorough airing of this and other, similar blunders, see 9 Little Translation Mistakes that Caused Big Problems.