EthnoMed is a program and website within Harborview Medical Center’s Interpreter Services Department that provides information about cultural beliefs, medical issues and other topics related to the health care of immigrants and refugees. Founded in 1994 in partnership with UW Health Sciences Library, the website was developed for clinicians and health care providers working with immigrant and refugee populations in the greater Seattle area. EthnoMed offers information about immigration, cultural norms and values, experience with Western medicine, culture specific information and tools pertinent to the clinical encounter and translated/culturally tailored information for patients. It is also an entree to “cross-cultural” practice.
In early 2019, the EthnoMed team enlisted consultants from UW’s iSchool to identify and address website usability issues. It had been almost a decade since the last design, and the site was an outdated and unstable platform. Users reported that the site organization was somewhat confusing and information difficult to quickly find. A new design was proposed that was more modern, visually engaging, and allowed for better organization.
Harborview received funding from the National Library of Medicine to update the website. In fall of 2019, EthnoMed hired an Web Information Specialist to coordinate the redesign project and manage ongoing content. The team worked in collaboration with UW Creative Communications and UW Health Sciences Library to develop a new WordPress site. In December, we brought on two undergraduate students to help with migration of over 500 pages and resources.
The redesigned EthnoMed website launched in April 2020 to overwhelmingly positive reviews – with increased functionality, compelling images and clean organization. We hope the new site will continue to support serve health providers in their work to reduce health disparities affecting immigrants and refugees.
Please see our Content Submissions page for ways to contribute and join our email newsletter to stay informed. You can also follow us on Twitter. We welcome feedback on the new site via our user survey.