Patient Navigator System
What it is
Patient Navigator Program was created to bridge the gap between the Asian American and Pacific Islander patient and the healthcare system. It aims to increase healthcare access by breaking the barriers of language, culture, unfamiliar healthcare system, and economics.
This program was founded in 2003, after noting that:
- adequate health care was not reaching many Asians in the community,
- disparity in care, although found to be largely due to language barriers, was also due to:
- unfamiliar healthcare system
- lack of health insurance
- cultural incompatibility with western treatment methods
- there are no health programs addressing Asian American health issues specifically.
The patient navigator program was designed to assist Asians within the community in navigating and understanding the health care system by providing volunteer patient navigators who serve as a connection between the health care provider and the Asian American seeking health care access.
Patient navigators break the barriers of language and culture by closely guiding the patient through the process. Its unique feature lies in matching the Asian American patient with a volunteer from the same language and cultural background who is trained in securing the most benefits from the public health care system of Michigan.
- Enhanced volunteerism from various Asian ethnic communities,
- Local health care institution engagement,
- Resource collaboration,
- Reduced fixed costs in programming,
- Asian American immigrant integration through language education,
- Patient-centered healthcare access.
- Seven (7) ethnic groups represented,
- Fifteen (15) certified Patient Navigators,
- Hundreds now having their own primary care doctors, setting up their own appointments, independently responsible for their own health care needs,
- Hundreds of healthier Asian Americans in Michigan.
Multicultural Language School
Recent immigrants compose most of the Asian American population in West Michigan. Even after 20 to 30 years, a significant portion still have trouble communicating in English. Language is the most common barrier to health care access. All health programs’ written materials are either in English or Spanish. All healthcare institutions operate in English, with others also including Spanish. There are over 30 languages in Asia. Demographically, Asian immigrants in West Michigan speak over 10 languages.
A language school that teaches basic reading and spoken English to Asian immigrants would be a better, most cost-effective solution.
- Collaboration with St. Mary Magdalen Parish,
- Volunteer teachers from various Asian languages,
- Health education in English and in various Asian languages,
- English immersion in actual real life scenarios.
A Multicultural Language School is now operational at the St. Mary Magdalen church. Classes started in January 2008 and includes courses such as English as a 2nd Language, Vietnamese Language course, Filipino Language, and Korean. Classes are held on Saturdays at 10:30 AM.
School Director: Sr. Lucy Nhut
We are now accepting registrations for the next 8-week session for classes in Vietnamese, Tagalog and Korean and English as a Second Language which will begin April 12, 2010.
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