Document Type

Capstone Experience

Graduation Date


Degree Name

Master of Public Health


Health Promotion

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.

Interview Guide for Families final.docx (60 kB)
Interview Guide for Families

Interview Guide for Interpreters final.docx (55 kB)
Interview Guide for Interpreters

Interview Guide for Providers final.docx (56 kB)
Interview Guide for Providers

Available for download on Thursday, July 31, 2025