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Toolkit for Treating Culturally Diverse Patients

This toolkit was prepared to assist dental schools and community clinics providing care to diverse patient populations.  Part of the Phase II California Pipeline program, the toolkit summarizes practical information already available from multiple medical and dental organizations, federal and state governments, and private companies concerned with cultural competency.

Most of the material focuses on overcoming linguistic barriers in treating non-English speaking patients.  A second focus is cultural issues that need to be considered that go beyond linguistics.

Within each of the four sections of the toolkit there are sample documents and directions for obtaining additional resources.  The amount of material per section is uneven, and this reflects the state of developments in each section.  In this regard, a lot more work needs to be done to develop signage for clinics in different languages and translation of post treatment care and follow up instruction.

I.  Interpretation Services
This section covers nationally available services for: telephonic and video interpreting, the teaching of basic clinical language skills to providers and staff, and training staff to serve as interpreters.

II.  Signage/Way Finding
This section identifies websites that provide signs, notices, posters and symbols commonly used in healthcare settings.

III.  Patient Information
This section provides links to websites that offer administrative and clinical information to patients in multiple languages. The translated material covers insurance, consent and health history forms, emergency phrases, general dental procedures, diseases, treatments, and prevention.

IV.  Additional Resources
This section addresses a wide range of related topics, including national standards on linguistically appropriate services.

Because of the national concern with treating diverse patient groups, this toolkit is a work in progress.  It will be modified as new materials become available and as the dental schools and clinics in the California Pipeline Program gain experience in working with this resource.

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