Understanding and Improving Language Access to Health Care & Family Planning

This project funded by a 3 year grant, received in 2009, from the National Institutes of Health, Office of Population Affairs. The purpose of the project is to address disparities in family planning services which emanate from the inability of programs to identify and meet the needs of patients with limited English proficiency. This research is among the first to systematically study how organizational improvement in language assistance services can contribute to the elimination of language-related disparities in family planning services. The strategies, tools and lessons which will emerge from this project will help improve the planning and delivery of family planning services for limited English proficient populations.

The project consists of 2 phases:
Phase I (Mapping the Landscape of Family Planning Clinics in NYS) focuses on deepening understanding of the: (a) quantity and quality of language assistance services; (b) organizational and community factors that may influence the delivery of language assistance services, and (c) organizational history, resources, interest, and availability to participate in research to improve language assistance services. This information will then be used to plan and recruit eligible clinics in phase 2.

Phase II (Assessing whether an organizational language access plan will improve services) will determine whether developing an organizational plan to support implementation of specific language assistance services will improve the quality and quantity of those services. In this phase, six Title-X funded clinics will be enrolled in the study based on location, administrative support for language assistance, LEP Latina patient volume, similar staff and patient characteristics, and similarity in current language assistance practices. During this phase, participating clinics will be provided with support to develop and implement a plan for language assistance services (e.g. in-person, telephone and web-based support) and a mini-grant to support specific improvements in language assistance services.


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