Tip of the Week
For a examination of an Afghan family’s exodus to Minnesota, take a look at this detailed story just published in Sahan Journal, “The 44-day journey that changed Muhammad Nishat’s life.”
(Sahan Journal describes itself as a “nonprofit digital newsroom fully dedicated to providing authentic news reporting for and with immigrants and communities of color in Minnesota.” For anyone interested the insider’s perspective on immigrant issues, it’s worth a bookmark on your browser.)
Nishat, whose work brought him into regular contact with US forces in Afghanistan, escaped with his wife and eight children, but only after a harrowing trip across Kabul to the desperate scene at the international airport. After three days at the airport, he and his family got jammed in a plane to Qatar. From there it was on to Germany, Virginia, New York, and, finally, Minnesota. Now the family awaits stable housing in a hotel that remains unnamed for security reasons.
Fifty-five thousand Afghans are currently in the early stages of resettlement. About 100 of them have already arrived in Minnesota. Sahan Journal reports that Minnesota has promised to resettle more than 500 Afghans shortly, while resettlement agencies push for an additional 400 people.
Here’s a package of infographics from the Minnesota Department of Health that may help convince reluctant limited English speakers to get vaxed up against COVID-19. The pieces explain that the vaccination is safe, can keep the vaccinated from getting seriously ill, frees up hospital beds and helps to protect children and others.
- Why Get Vaccinated (AMHARIC).pdf
- Why Get Vaccinated (ARABIC).pdf
- Why Get Vaccinated (CHINESE).pdf
- Why Get Vaccinated (FRENCH).pdf
- Why Get Vaccinated (HINDI).pdf
- Why Get Vaccinated (HMONG).pdf
- Why Get Vaccinated (KAREN).pdf
- Why Get Vaccinated (LAO).pdf
- Why Get Vaccinated (NEPALI).pdf
- Why Get Vaccinated (OROMO).pdf
- Why Get Vaccinated (RUSSIAN).pdf
- Why Get Vaccinated (SOMALI).pdf
- Why Get Vaccinated (SPANISH).pdf
- Why Get Vaccinated (SWAHILI).pdf
- Why Get Vaccinated (VIETNAMESE).pdf
The original English version is here in four separate panels:
Struggling to explain monoclonal antibody therapy as a COVID treatment to patients who speak primarily Hmong, Somali or Spanish? Take a look at these easy-to-read info sheets from the Minnesota Department of Health.
More information on how patients can qualify for treatment is available at the Minnesota Resource Allocation Platform for COVID-19 Treatment. Directives for both patients and providers are available here.
Find a variety of health education pieces related to COVID for recently arrived Afghan refugees in Pashto, Dari, Farsi and English at the University of Minnesota’s National Resource Center for Refugees, Immigrants, and Migrants website.
Resources include basic fact sheets, posters, stickers and social media posts you can customize, plus video and audio messages.
With a new wave of Afghani refugees right around the corner, here’s an opportunity to learn more about best practices when interacting with recent arrivals.
The free webinar, “Best Practices in Newcomer and Immigrant Health: A Virtual Short Course for Clinicians and Interpreters,” will be offered from 1-4 pm, September 21 and 28. Organized by the Center of Excellence in Newcomer Health, the webinar is aimed at physicians, nurses, psychologists, social workers, and professional medical interpreters.
For more information on this course and registration info, go to: A Virtual Short Course for Clinicians and Interpreters.
For a different idea on how to approach public health messaging, check out this video on violence against women, sung by the Mexican singer Silvana Estrada for the organization La Red Nacional de Refugios. Find the translated version of the song lyrics here. There’s hardly a dry eye in the courtyard by the time Estrada is finished with the song, If They Kill Me. In a world with more than its share of posters, flyers and brochures, this is a strikingly emotional solution to the problem of effective communication.
Need an extra jolt to convince people of color to get vaccinated? Here’s a video featuring public health officials and physicians of color explaining that COVID vaccines are safe and effective, and that getting vaccinated is socially responsible. The video is produced by the Big Cities Health Coalition, which is a forum for the leaders of America’s largest metropolitan health departments, serving 62 million people.
As US involvement in the 20-year war in Afghanistan winds down, here’s an inevitable question: What becomes of the thousands of Afghans who helped US troops and now face retribution as the Taliban takes over?
This month the US House of Representatives voted to boost the number of special visas for Afghans from 11,000 to 19,000. The measure limits the evidence that refugees will need to prove that they are at risk. It remains under consideration in the Senate.
More than 18,000 Afghans worked for the US during the war effort, serving as interpreters, drivers, guards, and clerks. They have an estimated 53,000 family members. Get more details in this New York Times story: The House votes to increase the number of visas for Afghans who have helped U.S. troops
In a related article, the Times reports on efforts of US soldiers to assist the Afghans who helped them. It is, in short, a struggle, as former interpreters and others face both death threats at home and a years-long bureaucratic process to secure a ticket to safety. See ‘I’ll Never Forget You’: Veterans Push to Get Afghan Partners in War to the U.S.
In the will-history-repeat-itself category, the upcoming Afghan diaspora raises the question whether the latest consequence of war will have the same transformative effect locally as the flight of Vietnamese and Hmong from their conflict-torn homelands.
With the pull-out of US troops from the 20-year ware in Afghanistan comes a new international refugee crisis, as aid groups declare that they’re prepping for the displacement of tens of thousands as the Taliban takes over swaths of the beleaguered country.
The millions of Afghans who have previously fled violence have landed in Pakistan, Turkey, Iran, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, where they are often impoverished, subject to work limits and pressured to leave.
As it turns out, Australia is a font of translated health material, including difficult-to-find mental health resources. Take a look at this site — Beyond Blue — for both translated information sheets in numerous languages, plus material directed toward lesbian, gay, bi, trans, intersex, queer, bodily, gender and sexually diverse people.
Translated mental health resources include material dealing with pregnancy and new parents, family violence, mental health of children, and general mental health topics, such as understanding mental health conditions, stress and stress management, and medications.
Beyond Blue is sponsored by the Australian states, to reduce the prevalence and impact of depression, anxiety and related disorders.
The American Immigration Council is a quick and easy source for an overlook at Minnesota’s immigrant community. It’s Minnesota-specific fact sheet is available here.
You’ll find some surprising information within. For example:
- Nine percent of state residents are immigrants;
- This nine percent comprised 11 percent of the state workforce, with a concentration in the health care and manufacturing sectors;
- In the Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington metropolitan area in 2018, 11 percent of business owners were immigrants.
- Immigrant-led households in the state paid $2.9 billion in federal taxes and $1.5 billion in state and local taxes in 2018.
The American Immigration Council says that it works “toward a more fair and just immigration system that opens its doors to those in need of protection and unleashes the energy and skills that immigrants bring.” Sign up for the organization’s email list here. The Council’s website and blog offer perspectives on how the US immigration system works, the ins-and-outs of the Dream Act, the complexities of the Central American refugee crisis and more.
Are safety concerns preventing your clients and patients from getting the COVID vaccination? Here’s an infographic translated into 15 languages that points out that the COVID vax is the result of years of research, and was subjected to extensive clinical trials before approval.
The piece is the result of a collaboration among the University at Buffalo (NY) Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), the International Institute of Buffalo and the Erie County Department of Health.
The goal, says CTSI Director Timothy F. Murphy, MD, is to ensure that clear, accurate vaccine information is available to everyone.
“An important underlying reason for COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy is lack of access to reliable information about the vaccines,” Murphy explains. “Reaching community members who speak languages other than English with clear, understandable and reliable information will be enormously valuable in addressing vaccine hesitancy.”
Find the translations here:
Thinking about saving money by having your Aunt Betty translate a few simple words for your organization? Really, what could go wrong?
Plenty, needless to say. Check out 40 hilarious translation fails from different languages, published on The Language Nerds website.
Looking to stay abreast of where the next groups of refugees and asylees are likely to come from? One top source for news of tough times in other countries is the International Rescue Committee website.
By its description, IRC “responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover and gain control of their future.”
Recent articles on its website covered Syrian refugee mothers’ labors to take care of their kids, an analysis of what world leaders can do to end famine, and a piece on the dislocation caused by volcanic eruption in Goma.
The site provides a stylish, tightly written jolt of information, and is well worth a look.
Governor Tim Walz is urging Minnesotans to get a Pfizer vaccination for their 12- to 15-year olds. But if your patients and clients say, Yeah, but where do I get it? what’s your answer?
An easy way to find out where to find the Pfizer vax is to plug into the Department of Health’s Vaccine Locator Map to find a nearby provider. Enter a zip code and you’re on your way.
Another prospect: link to VaccineConnector.mn.gov to sign up for an appointment at one of the state Community Vaccination Program locations. Walk-ins for Minnesotans 12+ will be accepted at Bloomington (Mall of America), Saint Paul (Roy Wilkins Auditorium), Lino Lakes and Oakdale. Walk-ins and appointments for Minnesotans 18+ are accepted at all sites.
Looking for insight on current efforts to reduce health disparities Minnesota? Here’s a series of video interviews with local experts and activists conducted by Minnesota’s US Senator Tina Smith. Subjects include:
- In a Q & A with Dr. Charity Reynolds, Medical Director of the Fond Du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, Reynolds explains her efforts to build trust between public health workers and the tribal community. The success of that work made Fond Du Lac one of the first places in the state to get all of its elders vaccinated. Watch the video here.
- Amira Adawe, founder of the Beautywell Project, details how her organization spreads awareness of the dangers of skin-lightening products. She also describes the campaign to enact policies to regulate them. The video is here.
- University of Minnesota researcher J’Mag Karbeah examines inequities in the maternal and child health systems that result from structural racism. She discusses her drive to end health disparities between Minnesota’s communities of color and white populations. See the video.
Looking to boost your ongoing COVID information campaigns? Take a look at this repository offered by the Minnesota Department of Health.
In addition to Stay Safe Minnesota logos, social media content and newspaper ads, you’ll find health education materials translated into Amharic, Dakota, Hmong, Karen, Ojibwe, Oromo, Russian, Somali, Spanish and Tibetan. Among the topics covered include vaccination timelines, information for seniors, guidance updates, testing sites, quarantine rules and much more.
Want to get your COVID-related messaging out as effectively as possible? Here’s a toolkit from the Ad Council and COVID Collaborative that features downloadable graphics, plus messaging recommendations, do’s and don’ts, and tips about language and tone.
The non-profit Ad Council brings together creative minds in advertising, media, technology and marketing to address social causes, and was the driving force behind ad campaigns including Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk, Smokey Bear, and Love Has No Labels.
The toolkit includes:
- Messaging Recommendations. Strategic guidelines, messaging elements that resonate (and don’t), language considerations, and trusted messengers.
- Messaging That Resonates. Strategies to build confidence and trust, remind people why the COVID vaccine is important, and help them see it as a critical step in protecting themselves and their families. This also provides specific recommendations for communicating with Black and Latino audiences.
- Core Insights. Insights from research by the Ad Council and others about the key concerns behind low vaccine confidence — safety, side effects, lack of information, and the speed of the clinical trials. This includes specific research on Black Americans and Latinos, as well as trusted messengers.
- Downloadable Videos and Graphics. Videos, vaccine FAQs, suggested talking points, and customizable social media copy.
For Black patients who need convincing that it’s a good, safe move to get a COVID-19 vaccination, here’s a video from the Black Physicians Network of Columbus, Ohio that makes the case. Dozens of Ohio Black physicians in this short video address the reasons why Black patients might be skeptical, and explain why they ultimately decided to get vaccinated themselves. Well made, and definitely worth a watch.
Not all translation depends on words, as is made clear by a New York Times obit for graphic designer and artist Rajie Cook.
In 1974, Cook’s design firm was hired by the US Department of Transportation as it prepared for what was assumed would be an influx of foreign visitors around the time of the 1976 bicentennial. Cook’s charge was to create symbols that could efficiently convey to people who didn’t speak English key information — for instance, where are the bathrooms, which gender do they serve, where’s the elevator, or the train or bus stop.
The firm came up with 34 pictographs, still in use today. Cook’s analysis of that work contains a lesson that remains relevant to anyone trying to communicate across cultural spans: “We held firm to the principle that design communicates to its maximum efficiency without frills, contrivances and other extraneous material.”