ALAS para tu Salud Project SSG/PALS for Health presented the ALAS para tu Salud Sin Barreras del Idioma para Una Communidad Más Saludable project in Spring of 2003. The ALAS acronym stands for Access to Linguistically Appropriate Services. As language advocates, we are aware that communication between the patient and the provider is vital and when this communication is affected or non-existent because of language barriers, this can lead to dire consequences and unwarranted health complications. Even though a great majority of the population in LA County speaks Spanish/English, not all bilingual persons have the skills or ability to interpret and/or translate accurately and completely, especially when it involves the interpretation and/or translation of medical terminology.
Funded by the California Wellness Foundation, the ALAS para tu Salud project was established to address the ongoing language access issues faced by limited English proficient persons. Language issues that many times prevent someone who does not speak or does not understand English, from requesting or receiving the services or medical attention he or she needs. ALAS strives to offer 1) health care interpreting services to patients, 2) inform Latino/Hispanic families about their rights to request and receive health care services in their own language, and 3) emphasize the importance of utilizing trained interpreters; instead of children, family members or untrained bilingual staff.
Community Health Workers: “Proyecto Enlace” SSG/PALS for Health’ “Proyecto Enlace” was created in 2011 as a result of DMH’s affirmative efforts to bridge the gap between the high needs for mental health services and low utilization rate among the Latino communities in Service Area (SA) 4 and 6. Proyecto Enlace provided community outreach and education on mental health topics and services to over 6000 monolingual or limited English proficient (LEP) Latino community members in SA 4 and 6. Outreach locations ranged from street corners where Latinos commonly congregate to churches, schools, health and mental health clinics, food banks, police stations and juvenile centers, art studios, regional centers and community-based organizations.
In addition, Proyecto Enlace helped to navigate and link almost 750 Latinos to health, human and support services such as food, housing, employment, and legal assistance, just to name a few. Notably, over 400 Latinos were navigated and/or linked directly with mental health services, including therapy for undocumented parents with no health coverage, from providers such as, Maple Avenue Clinic, Stocker, Eisner Clinic, St. John’s, Hawkins, St. Francis Clinic and APCTC.
Furthermore, Proyecto Enlace facilitated support groups for Spanish speaking men and women, with topics ranging from stress reductions through arts, red carpet event for victims of domestic violence, make-up and hair styling classes to help build self-esteem, to advocacy for a violent-free environment for children and families. The promotores from Proyecto Enlace also trained community members to take on leadership roles to sustain and create more peer-supported resources for the communities.
Patient Navigation Education Building on the results of the Consumer Health Education project (described below), PALS for Health and its ALAS para tu Salud project partnered with Alice Chen, M.D. and Doreena Wong, J.D., to develop a train the trainers for health promoters (promotoras) and patient navigators. Funded by the Office of Minority Health Bilingual Bicultural Service Demonstration Grant, this training provides an overview of the United States medical system, the importance of accurate health care communication, interpreter roles and why family and friends should not be used as interpreters, how to effectively use trained interpreters, and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Upon completion of the half-day training, health promoters and patient navigators will have the capacity to train their limited English proficient (LEP) community members in a group or one-on-one setting.
REACH 2010/PATH for Women In October 2000, our breast health component merged with a community breast and cervical cancer partnership, funded via the CDC Foundation’s REACH 2010 initiative. This collaborative known as the PATH (Promoting Access to Health) for Pacific Islander and Southeast Asian women includes partners from UCLA School of Public Health, UCI School of Social Ecology, Orange County API Community Alliance, Guam Communications Network, Samoan National Nurses Association, Tongan Community Service Center, Families in Good Health, and PALS for Health. PATH is designed to research and create interventions for Cambodian, Chamorro, Laotian, Samoan, Thai, Tongan and Vietnamese women.
API Task Force Since the inception of this component, PALS for Health has also been an active member of various local and statewide women’s health committees. PALS for Health co-chaired the API Task Force of Partnered for Progress Los Angeles Regional Cancer Partnership and was also a member of their Board of Directors from 1997 to 2000. We’re currently members of the API Advisory Committee of California Department of Health Services, Cancer Detection Section, Breast and Cervical Cancer Control Program, and are also active in the Asian American Network for Cancer Awareness, Research and Training (AANCART).
Of the various community collaborations we’ve been a part of, one of the highlights took place on May 13, 1999 when the API Task Force of Partnered for Progress Los Angeles Regional Cancer Partnership played an instrumental role in facilitating the first-ever convening of a multi-ethnic API breast cancer survivor speakers panel. Appropriately named “Equally at Risk: API Women Speak Out on Breast Cancer” the panel was aimed at debunking the dangerous myth that API women are at low risk for breast cancer and also to encourage API women to access early detection. This standing room event was held at the Los Angeles Public Library in conjunction with Art.Rage.Us, an exhibit of creative works by women with breast cancer. PALS for Health consequently teamed up with the API National Cancer Survivors Network a project of the Asian and Pacific Islander American Health Forum, and The Breast Cancer Fund to convene a similar panel in Oakland in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The development and consequent achievements of our women’s health component would not have been possible without support from the Office of Minority Health, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, CDC Foundation, and Partnered for Progress Los Angeles Regional Cancer Partnership.
Language Access Training for Health Care Providers PALS for Health offers trainings on language access to health and social service providers serving a patient population who is limited English proficient (LEP). The training varies in length and can be tailored to meet the needs of specific institutions. Some components include federal and state language access laws, importance of interpreter training and language proficiency testing, model practices, technical assistance, and the impact of major changes in healthcare such as the Affordable Care act (with the expected rollout in 2014).
PALS for Health provides these types of community education talks on a regular basis at no cost as part of our mission in community education.
For more information or to schedule a training for your organization, please contact us at (213) 553-1818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
PALS for Health is a division of Special Service for Groups 515 S. Columbia Ave. Suite 320 Los Angeles, CA 90017 P: (213) 553-1818 | F: (213) 553-1876 | E: email@example.com