This summary is provided by IPR based on the original journal article in the Journal of Language and Social Psychology
Miscommunication or negative impacts of certain styles of communication, especially with Native Americans, exacerbate the risk of life-threatening illnesses. Pamela J. Kalbfleisch, Ph.D., examined the contexts, problems, and impact of these problems for effective health communication between healthcare providers and Native Americans in North America (including Hawaii).
· Storytelling may be the best way to convey information to people across medical contexts so patients understand, accept, and remember medical advice and recommendations.
· Native-American to Native-American coaching in effective communication with modern medical practitioners and a standard set of questions for Native Americans to ask could promote effective communication.
· Communicative brokers could be used to further smooth the modern medical interaction.
· Encouraging Native Americans to enter health-related careers, including as researchers, would help facilitate effective communication between modern medical practitioners and those seeking help.
This research suggests strategies on how to mitigate communication barriers between Native Americans and medical providers to promote well-being, proper care, and avoid exacerbating illnesses to the point of being life-threatening. Further research could examine communication patterns among the approximately 200 different Native American languages with healthcare professionals.
Kalbfleisch, P. J. (2009). Effective Health Communication in Native Populations in North America. Journal of Language and Social Psychology, 28(2), 158-173. doi:10.1177/0261927×08330607