From Fernanda Santos, The New York Times-
Hospitals like Elmhurst Hospital Center in Queens, borough of more than 2.3 million people from 100 countries, find ways to better serve their diverse patients. For example, female obstetricians are always on duty overnight at the hospital’s maternity ward in case a Muslim woman arrives in labor and does not want to be treated by a male doctor.
“We can’t just say, ‘You’re different,’ call an interpreter and consider our job done,” said Candi Castleberry-Singleton, chief diversity officer at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, which operates 15 hospitals and clinics throughout Pennsylvania. “What we have to say is, whatever cultural beliefs you have, they’re going to be acknowledged and respected.”
Ruth Rooney, a registered nurse who has been running the classes for 15 years, said she had struggled to figure out why blood sugar levels among her Latino patients remained so high. So one day she asked them to bring in samples of the foods they ate at home.
“I realized I had been telling them to avoid white bread,” Ms. Rooney said, “but I never mentioned tortillas, which is really a staple of their diet.”
Nurses are even traveling abroad to learn about their patients’ cultures.
The issue of treating immigrants goes well beyond the challenges posed by linguistic diversity, said Dr. Moshirpur, regional director of the Queens Health Network, which includes Elmhurst Hospital.