Marketing To Ethnic Communities
Neil Baum, MD
Neil Baum, MD, is Clinical Associate Professor of Urology, Tulane Medical School, New Orleans, LA, and author of Marketing Your Clinical Practice: Ethically, Effectively, and Economically, Jones Bartlett Publishers.
With so many ethnic groups in many metropolitan communities, this may represent opportunities to attract various ethnic groups to your practice. If possible, try to learn to speak the language of the ethnic group you mainly serve. You will have an advantage in attracting non-US-born immigrants if you can speak their language. However, you can also serve their needs if you have someone on your staff who can translate. It is a good idea, though, for you to learn some basic vocabulary, such as greeting, farewells, and the names of body parts. This will not only make diagnoses more efficient, but it will also make your patients feel welcomed.
Provide translations of at educational materials for your patients. If these are not already available from pharmaceutical or medical manufacturing companies, have the most frequently used ones translated into their language. The nearest university or college might be a good resource. Often the language departments can refer you to people who do freelance translating. However, professional medical interpreters advise it is best to employ a trained medical professional with medical experience. Without specific training in the language and the nuances of translating during a medical examination, diagnostic cues and treatment recommendations can be missed or misinterpreted.
There are translation services that specialize in medical translations. You can contact the service and asked for a translator in nearly any language, including Vietnamese, Russian, Serbian, and Afrikaans, and they will arrange a translator at a designated time. The fees are reasonable, and using this service ensures that you can communicate with patients when you or someone in your office doesn't speak the language.
Try these other resources:
National Counsel on Interpreting in Healthcare (NCIHC), www.NCIHC.org
Cross Cultural Health Care Program (CCHCP), www.Xculture.org
Society of The Medical Interpreters (SOMI), www.sominet.org
American Translators Association (ATA), www.atanet.org