Tip of the Week
Here’s a webinar that will expand your ability to provide peri- and post-natal care for Afghan refugees that acknowledges traditional practices. Sponsored by the Minnesota Department of Health, the webinar is set for noon, Wednesday, October 12.
Organizers say you’ll come away with the ability to:
- Describe two to three traditional Afghan practices before, during, and after pregnancy and explain variation among Afghan practices.
- List three challenges that Afghan newcomers face post-arrival that can impact pregnancy care and outcomes.
- Name two practices that have been successful in supporting Afghan newcomers during and after pregnancy at a system level and two practices at a provider or case worker level.
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.
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.
Here’s a fascinating piece from the New York Times, Burning, Crushing, Stabbing: How Words Affect Pain — the language you use could make a difference on the pain you feel.
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.
- Masks Recommended for Everyone, Vaccinated and Unvaccinated(AMHARIC).pdf
- Masks Recommended for Everyone, Vaccinated and Unvaccinated(ARABIC).pdf
- Masks Recommended for Everyone, Vaccinated and Unvaccinated(CHINESE).pdf
- Masks Recommended for Everyone, Vaccinated and Unvaccinated(English).pdf
- Masks Recommended for Everyone, Vaccinated and Unvaccinated(FRENCH).pdf
- Masks Recommended for Everyone, Vaccinated and Unvaccinated(HMONG).pdf
- Masks Recommended for Everyone, Vaccinated and Unvaccinated(KAREN).pdf
- Masks Recommended for Everyone, Vaccinated and Unvaccinated(LAO).pdf
- Masks Recommended for Everyone, Vaccinated and Unvaccinated(OROMO).pdf
- Masks Recommended for Everyone, Vaccinated and Unvaccinated(RUSSIAN).pdf
- Masks Recommended for Everyone, Vaccinated and Unvaccinated(SOMALI).pdf
- Masks Recommended for Everyone, Vaccinated and Unvaccinated(SPANISH).pdf
- Masks Recommended for Everyone, Vaccinated and Unvaccinated(VIETNAMESE).pdf
Get a rundown on the current turmoil in Ethiopia, and its effect on the local Oromo community, via Sahan Journal, the online news source that covers immigrant and people-of-color issues.
With an estimated 40,000 Oromos living in Minnesota, they are the second-largest East African community in the state, trailing only Somalis. In this piece — As rebel forces approach the capital, Ethiopia faces a possible government takeover. Minnesota’s immigrant communities are worried for their relatives back home. — writer Hibah Ansari explores the impact of the civil war on Minnesota immigrants fretting over the vicious fight in East Africa.
A side note: Sahan Journal deserves a spot on your browser’s bookmarks list. It’s a well-produced point of entry to issues important to immigrants fashioning a new life in Minnesota.
Frustrated by the plethora of misbegotten opinion and non-facts regarding COVID-19? Here’s a toolkit and training package offered by the Office of the Surgeon General that will help you get solid information to your community. You can find the Addressing Health Misinformation through Community Toolkit here, and the companion Train the Trainer curriculum here.
The toolkit provides guidance to understand, identify and stop the spread of health misinformation in communities. It includes summaries, illustrations, short activities and helpful tips.
You can also view an hour-long webinar on community strategies for combatting health misinformation, featuring Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, plus library, civic, philanthropic and health leaders, here.
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
- Child care
- ESL courses
- Housing search and energy assistance
- Driving license application and driving classes
- Elder care and more
Get more information from Ali AlGhafilee, the Y’s family support specialist, at
email@example.com, (612) 465-0596.
In case you haven’t noticed, the Minnesota Department of Health offers a deep repository of translated COVID-19 education materials in one convenient location. Take a look at translated Stay Safe Minnesota materials here.
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.
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.