Hablamos Juntos (Spanish for “We
Speak Together”) is a unique project designed to forge connections
between health care providers and the rapidly growing Latino health
market. As a national program of The
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Hablamos Juntos is investing
$10 million in ten
demonstration sites around the country. These sites, ranging
from health plans and large hospital systems to small nonprofit
community organizations working on behalf of patients and physicians,
will work to improve communication between health care providers
and Latino patients and eliminate language barriers that can lead
to medical errors and compromise the quality of care.
Clear communication is essential to delivering
high-quality health care. Health organizations that want to remain
competitive – from a cost and quality perspective – must
adapt to meet the needs of their increasingly diverse communities.
Meeting the demands of an evolving Latino health
market—Latinos are the fastest-growing group in America—has
its challenges. Health care systems will need to recruit a diverse,
multi-lingual workforce and hire professional interpreters. Health
care providers will be pressed to provide well-trained interpreters
in locations that lack such training programs. It also means creating
organizations that foster an environment committed to serving patients
who speak little or no English and adopting creative solutions
to augment professional interpreters and other language services
available to Spanish-speaking patients.
Hablamos Juntos is addressing these challenges
by helping health care providers develop affordable language programs.
Hablamos Juntos has developed three important steps in our Program
Requirements for improving communication with Latino patients.
In brief, those steps include the following:
- Increase the availability and quality of interpretation services
for Latino patients who speak little English;
- Provide useful health related materials in Spanish; and
- Develop easy-to-understand ways for non-English speaking patients
to find their way around health care facilities.
Sites will test model approaches, including using
tools developed for Hablamos Juntos to assess existing language
and interpreter services. Demonstration sites will also identify
organizational policies that promote affordable language services
and work to continuously enhance language capacity to better serve
Latino patients. In addition, Hablamos Juntos will promote starting
local programs to train professional interpreters. Health care
organizations that adopt these approaches will benefit from:
- Improved quality of patient care and employee satisfaction;
- Reduced costs by decreasing unnecessary procedures;
- Improve patient safety and reduce risk of errors due to poor
- Increased patient confidence in their care and satisfaction
with their providers.
By promoting practices that improve
communication between Spanish-speaking patients and English-speaking
Providers, Hablamos Juntos is helping Latinos receive the care
they need and developing approaches that may be used with other
language groups as well. For an overview of the program in PDF
format that discusses the rationale for the initiative, please click
you have further questions about the Hablamos Juntos Project,
please direct them to email@example.com or
call our office at 559.499.6424.
The National Program Office
(NPO), established with support from The
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, manages the Hablamos Juntos
program. The NPO staff provides technical assistance and guidance
on interpreter training, signage and print materials and also monitor
the project and facilitate interaction among grantees. The office
will also seek to raise visibility and understanding about language
barriers nationally through dissemination of material, development
of a science base and production of a set of practice-oriented
tools available to grantees and others. Major functions of the
NPO include program leadership, grantmaking, technical assistance,
monitoring, communications, and consultation.
The NPO of the Hablamos Juntos project is administered by the UCSF Fresno Center for Medical Education & Research, a major educational and clinical branch of the UCSF School of Medicine. UCSF Fresno represents a unique medical education and physician training program that is a model for community and university partnership. Since its inception 30 years ago, UCSF Fresno has graduated approximately 60 resident physicians annually in one of seven specialties, totaling more than 2,000 to date. UCSF Fresno faculty and medical residents also care for the overwhelming majority of the area’s underserved populations at partner hospitals and clinics.
The NPO staff will benefit from
the experience and knowledge of two expert groups. The National
Advisory Committee will assist in the review of the full proposals,
participate in site visits, and assist in the monitoring of the
ongoing projects. A Scholars Network will
help staff and grantees understand what is known about the field
of medical interpretation and to build on that knowledge.
Members of the NPO Staff include:
The Hablamos Juntos National
Advisory Committee (NAC) consists of ten members who were selected
for their expertise and leadership in the health care field. NAC
members were crucial in the selection phase and throughout the
grant-making process. They reviewed proposals, conducted site visits,
and recommended ten applicants to be grantees. NAC members will
continue to monitor and guide the ongoing projects so that program
objectives are met.
The eleven National Advisory Committee
- Jean Gilbert,
D. Goode, M.A.
M. LaBrecque, M.P.N., M.H.A.
- Hugo Morales,
- Eva M. Moya,
- Alan R.
Nelson, M.D., M.A.C.P.
Pacheco, Jr., M.S.W.
- Elena V.
H. Rivera, M.D., F.A.A.P.
C. Scrimshaw, Ph.D.
The Hablamos Juntos Scholars
Network consists of ten members who were selected for their excellence
in language and healthcare research. The Scholars are experts committed
to advancing knowledge in the field of language barriers. They
will be commissioned to write several academic discussion papers
in order to help develop a science base for Hablamos Juntos.
The members of the Scholars Network
R. Betancourt, MD MPH.
Huan-mei Chen, MD MPH
T. Downing, PhD
Flores, MD FAAP
Jacobs, MD AM Public Policy
M. Lee, PhD
J. Pérez-Stable, MD
D. Tirado, PhD
Aguilar-Gaxiola, MD PhD