Master of Public Health
First Committee Member
Chad Abresch, PhD
Second Committee Member
Athena Ramos, PhD, MBA, MS, CPM
Third Committee Member
Dana Verhoeven, PhD, MS
There are a growing number of patients and families in the United States who use a language other than English (LOE). Standard of care for best patient outcomes requires that these families receive professional interpretation for every encounter, preferably in the interpreter modality that they are most comfortable with and that provides the best communication. Unfortunately, they often do not receive this. Objectives of this research include learning how interpreter services are selected and used as well as which modality (in-person, video, or phone) is preferred by patients and families, providers, and interpreters. We aim to better understand the experiences of patients and families who use a LOE, pediatric healthcare providers, and professional interpreters, and barriers to interpretation. Thirty subjects were chosen randomly to be interviewed in person or via video: ten caregivers of recently admitted pediatric patients (all via video, with interpreters) who use a LOE, ten professional interpreters, and ten pediatric healthcare providers (attending hospitalist physicians, resident physicians, nurses, respiratory therapist, and physical or occupational therapists). They were interviewed according to a standard interview guide created for each group. The interview transcriptions and translations were coded and analyzed using the qualitative software Dedoose. Most families preferred in-person interpretation, while all interpreters and providers did. Reasons included better context, ability to see nonverbal language, greater trust and rapport with families, better accuracy and more thorough communication, less technical difficulties and disruptions, and greater ability to assess the family’s understanding. Most participants preferred video second. Participants described numerous barriers and challenges to interpreter use and communication with patients and families who use a language other than English.
Leitch, Brooklyn, "Patient, Provider, and Interpreter Perspectives on Interpreter Modality and Barriers to Interpreter Use in a Pediatric Inpatient Setting" (2023). Capstone Experience. 270.
Available for download on Thursday, July 31, 2025