The US population is becoming increasingly diverse. While many Americans speak English, Limited English Proficiency is common in communities of color. About 25 million Americans have Limited English Proficiency (LEP). Eleven million are nonliterate in English. The Department of Health and Human (HHS) Services identifies individuals with LEP as those who do not speak English as their primary language and who have a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English. As of 2021, Hispanic/Latinx persons account for nearly two-thirds (62%) of the LEP population, while over a fifth (22%) of individuals with LEP are Asian. Nearly 31% of Asians over age five have LEP, followed by nearly 28% of Hispanic/Latinx people.
An estimated 93 million Americans have Basic or Below Basic Health Literacy. As health care becomes more complex and specialized by the minute, the communication gulf between doctors and their patients is becoming progressively insurmountable. In order for us to provide quality care for all Americans, we need to become skilled in providing culturally effective care.
The Stanford Cross Cultural Medicine Microlecture Series is a series of very short talks (2 minutes each typically), which aims to highlight key issues in cross-cultural encounters. We are the first to acknowledge how complex and challenging this topic is. Thus we seek to share our experiences and sights gained from clinical practice and research about this important issue, more as a starting point rather than as a “gold standard.” Our hope is that trainees and health personnel will use our micro-lecture series as a tool to pause and reflect on their own practice.