Does your organization send Community Health Workers into the field? If so, here’s a pair of webinars that will give them the tools to help combat the plethora of misinformation surrounding COVID-19 vaccinations.
Set for noon, Thursday, January 13 and 1 PM, Thursday, January 27, the free two-part webinar, offered in Spanish and English, will tackle these issues:
Part One, January 13: A review of core information that CHWs need to know about COVID-19, variants and vaccines. This session also will help CHWs identify trusted sources of information and resources to address misinformation and disinformation. (Register here.)
Part 2, January 27: The focus will be on vaccine resources for refugee, immigrant and migrant communities and will show ways to create communications campaigns and tailor materials that respond to the needs of the community served. (Register here.)
Local Ethiopian immigrant Zinet Kemal found she had some extra time on her hands. Since moving to Minnesota nine years ago, she had earned degrees from St. Paul College and Metropolitan State University, taken a job as an IT auditor for Hennepin County, and started an online graduate program in cybersecurity at the Georgia Institute of Technology. In between she was managing her four children, and adapting to life in frozen Minnesota. Nonetheless, when her kids came back from school and told her some of their fellow students speculated that they wore hijabs because they were bald or their hair was dirty, Kemal decided it was time to write a book that straightened things out.
Her illustrated book, Proud in Her Hijab, was published in August 2021, and is now available from Amazon and other vendors. You can read more about Kemal’s journey and her life here in this story — recently published in the excellent local online news resource, Sahan Journal.
Here’s a Tip of the Week a step outside the usual — the short story, Lu, Reshaping, by Madeleine Thien, which recently appeared in the New Yorker magazine. In the broadest terms, it’s a story about a Chinese immigrant’s struggle to make emotional sense of a life in the United States.
In some respects it’s a familiar saga. The female protagonist must rely on her pre-teen daughter to clean up the English in her writing for work. With her work-mates she is the Other, stuck just outside their easy companionship. People with less experience climb up the ladder while she remains stuck. At home she’s alienated from her husband, who is more a pragmatic associate than lover. Hence a series of secret affairs.
For Exchange readers there’s a particular bonus — the story contains a fascinating trove of Chinese idioms that render emotional states into unexpected language. Read the piece to discover the context and meaning of sayings such as, Did a ghost hit the back of your head?; Stop kicking tangerines around; and, I have eaten more salt than you have eaten rice.
Reporter Cameron Walker runs through a list of surprising observations related to multilingual patients. For instance:
swearing at pain in your nondominant language can be more effective at providing relief than letting fly in your native tongue,
other languages have words for pain with no direct English translation, leaving patients at a loss to describe the type of pain they feel.
The piece is part of a series from the Times on chronic pain, and includes stories on how to build a care team to deal with pain, how psychological counseling can help, and the benefits of exercise. Scroll down to the bottom of the language story to see the complete line-up.
Need a colorful reminder to mask up for visitors to your facility? Here are simple, printable posters in Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Hmong, Karen, Lao, Oromo, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Vietnamese, courtesy of the Minnesota Department of Health.
Get an inside look at the newly opened Hmong Cultural Center Museum at Western and University Ave.in St. Paul during it’s online launch from 5-6 pm, Thursday, December 2. You can attend the virtual event by signing in here. Get updates via the organization’s Facebook Event page.
The museum boasts a fascinating collection of artifacts from the Hmong diaspora, plus a collection of videos that explain a variety of Hmong cultural practices.
Hmong Cultural Center staff, board and community members will share what this cultural and educational institution will mean to the local Hmong community and the broader St. Paul and Twin Cities cultural landscape.
Here’s an another resource offered by the YMCA of the North for new immigrants seeking help with referrals to social services, employment, medical assistance and more. The YMCA’s New American Welcome Centers and Refugee Hubs support immigrants through integration services, community partnerships and strategies to build cross-cultural understanding.
The Y’s Welcome Centers and Refugee Hubs are located at St. Paul Eastside, Blaisdell, Burnsville, River Valley, Emma B. Howe in Coon Rapids, Ridgedale, and University YMCAs.
Among the services provided are:
Family well-being inventories
Referral to Immigration, employment and cash assistance
Community orientation workshops
Public Assistance navigation and direct assistance with applications
You’ll find pieces on testing, vaccination, masking and more in the languages most frequently spoken in Minnesota, including Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, Dakota, French, Hindi, Hmong, Karen, Ojibwe, Oromo, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Tibetan and Vietnamese.
(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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”