Resource Details

Eliciting culturally and medically informative family health histories from Marshallese patients living in the United States

02/12/2021 6:32pm
Heartland Regional Genetics Network (Heartland)

The United States (U.S.) resident Marshallese population is growing rapidly. Subsequent to this growth, Marshallese patients experience language and cultural barriers when attempting to access medical care in the U.S. This study: (a) documents how the Marshallese refer to biological and adopted family members; (b) identifies barriers encountered by Marshallese when seeking medical care; and (c) describes effective communication strategies for healthcare providers to use when treating Marshallese patients. Six key informant interviews were conducted in English with bicultural (U.S. and native Marshallese) informants, the majority of whom were women who worked in a healthcare setting. Participants were recruited through the Center for Pacific Islander Health in Arkansas and through personal contacts within the Marshallese community. Based on the study findings, examples of how providers can make genetic services more accessible and meaningful for Marshallese patients are also provided. This study is particularly relevant to genetic counselors as the number of Marshallese patients and families needing their services is growing.


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