Managing Multilingual Diversity in Health Care Services: Examining the Role of Mediation

Lola Ruiz Lozano

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Spain

WS166: Language Use, Interaction and Representations of Health in Urban Contexts of Immigrant Health Provision

The new situation of multicultural and linguistic diversity in Catalonia has created new challenges for the Catalan Administration and especially for the health sector (Moyer & Martin Rojo 2007). This paper analyzes how a particular health institution is managing a context of multilingual diversity and we explore different practices currently being used as a response to obstacles in oral communication. We also focus our attention on the role of health agents and mediators in facilitating medical consultation in a context where medical staff is faced with crucial gaps in language competencies. We examine how language ideologies shape the role of Mediators as well as the role of English as a communicative resource (lingua franca).

Ethnographic fieldwork is currently being undertaken in a health centre serving a multi-ethnic, multilingual migrant neighbourhood in urban Barcelona, where immigration rate represents a forty per cent of population older than 15 and seventy per cent of children. Data is gathered using in-depth interviews among health staff and mediators to analyse potential tensions between staff and immigrant groups derived from this situation.

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Session: Workshop (part 1)
Language Use, Interaction and Representations of Health in Urban Contexts of Immigrant Health Provision
Thursday, April 3, 2008, 13:45-15:15
room: 07