Communication and Health in a Multi-Ethnic Society

Communication and Health in a Multi-Ethnic Society

Communication and Health in a Multi-Ethnic Society

Communication and Health in a Multi-Ethnic Society

Synopsis

Communication and cultural diversity have become key focus areas as the health service engages with goals of health improvement and equity. This timely and unique book provides a rigorous and challenging review of recent research, with a particular focus on health communication interventions concerning service users who may lack fluency in English. The book shows that meeting the needs of all health service users, including disadvantaged groups, depends on both structures and processes of communication.This book will prove invaluable to healthcare professionals and medical students, academics, practitioners, service managers and policy makers concerned with improving health services for minority ethnic groups.

Excerpt

This book examines existing research into communication between health care providers and minority ethnic health care users who lack fluency in English. The book should be of value to academics, researchers, and students in health care and also the sociology of health, and to health service practitioners and leaders. It takes account of research conducted within health care disciplines, while complementing this with perspectives derived from the sociology of health and communication. The strong dual focus on empirical research and on communication sets it apart from other books focused on minority ethnic users and health, which have tended to have a less empirical flavour (Robinson, 1998), or to focus more generally on ethnicity (Ahmad, 1993).

The book does not exhaustively explore the full range of barriers to health care facing minority ethnic patients. Many members of minority ethnic groups in the UK do not lack fluency in English; an increasing number are born and raised here. Yet many of the communication barriers they face doubtless overlap with those of non-fluent speakers, for example concerning institutional and attitudinal rather than strictly linguistic factors; however, not all the research touching on their needs is covered here. At the same time, the scope of the book remains wideranging, and it includes research conducted in several countries where English is a national language, widely used in health care, particularly the US, Canada, and Australia, as well as the UK. As a result, a considerable diversity of minority ethnic groups and health care contexts is considered. Some facets of the research are rather context-dependent, indeed the robustness of communication research may require context-sensitivity, yet many aspects of each study should have broad application wherever minority ethnic users not fluent in English strive to have their communication needs understood and met. Given that the number of interventions in this area remains small, a strength of this study should be the broad scope it offers for making careful comparisons.

The primary focus is on empirical evidence of barriers to . . .

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