Article from the Chicago Tribune on language, culture, and medicine

The article, "Medical practice embraces patients with limited English-language skills" addresses the importance of the connection between doctor and patient through language and culture. Dr. Georgios Karanastasis believes he is better able to understand his Greek patients' cultural understandings and expectations of healthcare. Read full article here

“He has been holding presentations in the Greek communities of the south and southwest suburbs to increase awareness of the need for preventive care – getting regular mammograms, colonoscopies, pap smears and tests for diabetes, high blood pressure and osteoporosis – a type of care he said many Greek and other cultures dismiss unless they hear it from a doctor from the same background.

’”Usually patients from Greece only go to the doctor as needed,” he said. “When you come and talk to them in their language and tell them the importance of preventive care, they’re willing to do it, because they understand that somebody really cares about them.”‘

Even if you do not hail from a foreign country or speak a language other than English at home, if your international blood is from multiple generations back, you can still take the time as a physician to educate yourself on the culture of your patients.