Tip of the Week
Get a better understanding of the lives of recent refugees at this presentation: Knowing Your Refugee Neighbors, scheduled for 10-11:30 am, Tuesday, April 3, at Eagan Community Center, The Oaks, 1501 Central Parkway, Eagan.
Led by the Refugee Resettlement Service of the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the talk will feature information about:
- Demographics of refugees
- Benefits and rights of refugees
- Resettlement and integration
- Refugee contributions
- Outreach strategies
Light refreshments will be served.
Community Health Workers can play a key role in addressing trauma in clients and communities. This free webinar — The Therapeutic Role of CHWs and Community in Healing Trauma — covers trauma responses, strategies and best practices for CHWs, and offers resources to educate others about trauma. The webinar is set for 1-2:30 pm, Thursday, March 29.
Strategies for building individual capacity for healing and self-care for CHWs working with trauma will be outlined, in addition to healing strategies for African American, American Indian and refugee communities.
This program is organized by the Minnesota Community Health Worker Alliance with a grant from the Otto Bremer Trust. Register here.
So, that Spanish-speaking patient shows up in the clinic. The doctor believes he or she speaks Spanish well enough to get through the encounter. But is this a case of delusion? Would an interpreter be the better solution?
Here’s research that shows how accurate physicians are in self-assessment of their language ability compared to the results of actual testing of their language skills:
- The Impact of Language Proficiency Testing on Provider Use of Spanish for Clinical Care;
- Relationship Between Self-assessed and Tested Non–English-language Proficiency Among Primary Care Providers
The nutshell answer: One study found that docs who rated themselves as possessing high or low language proficiency had the clearest picture. Those who thought they fell in the middle of the scale were more likely to be flattering themselves. The other study revealed that once docs got test results, they felt less comfortable rolling out their Spanish in patient encounters.
Though not quite from right down the street, this video series from the University of Glasgow on the complexities of the medical interpreter’s role is unusually well filmed and acted, with nuanced scripts that go beyond the usual easy answers.
Among the topics explored here are the sometimes difficult-to-draw professional boundaries, the perils of family-member interpretation, and how to deal with pesky interlopers. It’s well-worth checking out all five of these approximately five-minute films.
Looking for a window into the living conditions and thoughts of refugees? Check out Refugee Voices, a feature offered on the website of Refugee Center Online.
This space gives refugees an opportunity to write about their experiences and attempt to make sense of the trauma in their lives. The content varies from explanations of acceptable jokes in the Middle East, to descriptions of nights of terror in Congo.
In the world of literature, these are boom times for dystopian fiction and refugee sagas. A recent stand-out in the latter category is “Exit West,” by Mohsin Hamid.
The short novel starts with a set-up familiar to anyone who reads the newspaper. Violence in an unnamed Middle Eastern country drives the protagonists, Nadia and Saeed, from their home, leaving behind family and the familiar world.
The tale veers into the realm of magical realism as they escape to Greece, London and California through a series of doors that open and close unpredictably. But at heart the story is about the complex relationship between Nadia and Saeed, and the difference in their ability to cope with the relentless change that defines a refugee’s passage.
Here’s the New York Times’ view of Hamid’s concern in this novel: The author, says reviewer Michiko Kakutani, “is less interested in the physical hardships faced by refugees in their crossings than in the psychology of exile and the haunting costs of loss and dislocation…. In “Exit West,” Hamid does a harrowing job of conveying what it is like to leave behind family members, and what it means to leave home, which, however dangerous or oppressive it’s become, still represents everything that is familiar and known.”
For anyone working with refugees, “Exit West” offers a view of the hope and dismay that accompanies escape from the world’s many war-torn countries.