Primarily authored by EthnoMed Director Dr. Carey Jackson, these posts explore current issues and spotlight organizations related to immigrant and refugee health care. We also occasionally feature guest authors.
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.
Being poor can be like treading water with the waterline right under your nose. The slightest ripple and you choke, a wave will submerge you. The novel coronavirus pandemic is a tsunami for those living in poverty. As the recent New York Times article illustrates, communities living in crowded conditions, with uncontrolled chronic diseases like diabetes and hypertension, marginalized by the lack of comprehensible health information, and mistrusting the current systems to treat them fairly will be disproportionately ravaged by Covid-19. We have seen this in the past with tuberculosis, HIV, and hepatitis B. But the novel coronavirus acts faster and in some cases more aggressively and so reveals disparities even more dramatically.
Migrants exist in two worlds simultaneously: one in the country of asylum and the other through their calls, connections, and visits, to the people back home. Global warming is changing both worlds; in fact it is why many have been forced to migrate.
Recently, world representatives met in Poland to coordinate efforts to address climate change, and as they acknowledge it is almost too late, many realize the stakes are far too high to trust politicians alone to handle the broad cultural changes needed to address environmental collapse from the top down.
A statement from the Northwest Immigrant and Refugee Coalition
It is critical for those of us charged with the well-being of children and families to speak out for their protection, as we have been reminded this week by the zero-tolerance policy separating and detaining families. We are a Washington State coalition of health professionals and public health practitioners; whose mission is to advocate and care for immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. The forceful separation of children from parents and the recent relocation of some of these children and parents to Washington State makes this national crisis also a local concern.
Maggie Cheng, Staff Attorney, Northwest Immigrant Rights Project
Elizabeth E. Dawson-Hahn, MD MPH Attending Physician, Harborview Medical Center and Seattle Children’s Hospital.
The trust between physician and patient is a core tenant of the medical profession. By extension, trusting relationships with nurses,technicians, hospitals and clinics are where this relationship plays out. This trust is now threatened by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). In a startling breach of precedent, ICE agents have begun to target clinics and hospitals to enforceimmigration policy. It is our opinion that these enforcement actions actively jeopardize patient care.
Fourteen years ago the Institutes of Medicine published Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care. Among their recommendations was the observation that to find disparities in care, health systems must first collect Race, Ethnicity, and Language (REAL) data at registration. Many health systems across the country began to make this effort. But then in 2008 the economy collapsed and health systems found themselves launching a rearguard effort to shore up their IT and EMR departments as budgets were cut and IT work forces downsized.Since then, the Affordable Care Act was passed and equity became a pillar of care. Electronic medical records were enhanced and since have evolved to facilitate the sharing of medical information.