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How to Navigate Cultural and Linguistic Differences

Researchers Discuss

This video presents interviews with experts on minority involvement in clinical trials. These include Dorothy Edwards, PhD, Dawn O. Kleindorfer, M.D., Alexander Dromerick, M.D., Jose G. Romano, M.D., Daniel Woo, M.D., and Kathryn France, R.N., P.H.N., C.C.R.C., C.C.R.A

Kleindorfer: Doctors are very impatient. We're busy. We've got a lot of stuff going on, and the natural inclination is to walk into a room with a huge family and the son speaks English and to use them as a translator. But if you've ever been in that situation, you know, you say, "Can you ask her when this started?" And then they have this whole conversation back and forth, and he says, "Yesterday." And you're like, "Really?"

France: I've seen several obstacles, some are specifically just procedural. Obviously, language barriers and consenting in different languages takes more time, and it takes more effort. And so as a coordinator, I think it's important to be prepared for those situations.

Romano: When you have a researcher that does not speak the language of the participant, that is a problem. There are certainly cultural barriers, not understanding what are the drivers and the concerns, the fears of the potential participant in a clinical study.

Gorelick: You've got to have the right people communicating. And if you have native-speaking persons going into a specific community, you'll be far and away ahead, because you won't have these communication barriers. And though, it's usually easier to develop trust when you speak the same language.

Romano: If we can explain to the patient and their families why it is important to participate, why this knowledge will eventually translate into better treatments for the whole community, that is important.

 Communication Techniques