Multicultural Perspectives on Health and Wellbeing/Impact of language on health

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Preamble The impact of language on health will be examined this week. Several aspects, including having to manage health issues in a second language, health issues associated with poor mastery of the majority language, linguistic isolation, intergenerational conflict will be discussed. We will also look at the cognitive frameworks associated with different cultures, focusing on the differences in assumptions about health and how these relate to people's health behaviour.


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Language and Health


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  1. Carol Lynn Pavlish, Sahra Noor, Joan Brandt (2010) Somali immigrant women and the American health care system: Discordant beliefs, divergent expectations, and silent worries Social Science & Medicine.71 (2): 353–361
  2. Fanany, R. (2012) ‘Language, culture and health’, In P Liamputtong, R Fanany, G Verrinder (eds), Health, Illness and Well-being: Perspectives and Social Determinants. Oxford University Press, South Melbourne. Pp. 229-241.
  3. Flores, G. (2006). Language Barriers to Health Care in the United States. New England Journal of Medicine, 355(3), 229-231. doi: doi:10.1056/NEJMp058316
  4. Jacobs, E., Chen, A. H., Karliner, L. S., Agger-Gupta, N., & Mutha, S. (2006). The Need for More Research on Language Barriers in Health Care: A Proposed Research Agenda. Milbank Quarterly, 84(1), 111-133. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-0009.2006.00440.x


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Language and healthcare - a video playlist


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Notes and Recordings

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Lecture notes