Developing Linguistically and Culturally Appropriate Health Programs: Challenges and Solutions

Rosa M. Steen, MPH | Salon 2

Research Associate II, KDH Research & Communication

 

Abstract:

In this session, we will discuss the challenges of developing the En Familia (ENF) program. KDHRC developed ENF as an intergenerational health literacy training program for low-income Latino families for implementation at Latino-serving community-based organizations (CBOs). ENF aims to improve families’ knowledge and skills to find, use and understand health care services and information, thereby improving Latino health outcomes. The ENF training guide and supplemental materials, including posters and handouts, are available in English and Spanish. A 10-episode video in Spanish with English subtitles supports the program sessions by engaging participants and modeling the acquisition of new health literacy skills.

As we translated the program materials into Spanish, we experienced tension between developing materials with wide reach and ensuring those materials were linguistically and culturally appropriate. For example, one of the main conceptual challenges relates to the term “health care,” a key term in a health literacy training program. English-speakers use the term in institutional contexts—“health care system,” “health care insurance,” “health care services,” but also to discuss “personal health care.” However, the translation of the term “health care” in Spanish may vary depending on context, particularly when discussing caring for your own or your family’s health.

We will discuss the implications of our experiences and provide recommendations for developing linguistically and culturally appropriate programs for a Latino audience.

 

Learning objective:

  • Describe recommendations for developing linguistically and culturally appropriate programs for a Latino audience

 

Track:

Bridging cultural gaps and eliminating barriers