Dr. Judith Flores of the National Hispanic Medical Association discusses the importance of addressing language barriers so people with cancer can receive the best care.
Over the past few years, how have you seen language barriers addressed and how can we continue addressing them?
I think we have to understand that addressing language barriers is extremely important. It can be fatal for someone if they don’t access care because they cannot get it in their own preferred language. Of course, we have some federal funds through the Accountable Care Act that allow us to have resources for limited English proficiency, but to be honest, the best thing to do is to try to develop a workforce that looks like the patients they serve, speaks their language and understands their culture.
I’m going to quote from the cdc’s definition of health equity. Health equity implies that every person has the opportunity to attain their full health potential. No one is at a disadvantage because of social position. That’s a tall order, and that’s something that we all have to work towards, especially now, and we want to add the piece of health justice which implies that people, all people are valued and that health and reconciliation is a goal for all of us.