Livable City Year

Improving Emergency Communications with Limited-English-Proficiency (LEP) Chinese- and Russian-Speaking Communities

2018-2019 Livable City Year – Bellevue

City Project Leads: Ellen Montañana, Fire Department
UW Instructor: Hendrika Meischke, Health Services
Course: HSERV 599, Capstone Project

Project summary:

In the event of an emergency or disaster, use of existing networks of communication and discovery of new avenues to disseminate information among limited English proficient (LEP) individuals and communities may reduce health disparities experienced by minority populations. From January to April of 2019, one student pursuing a Master’s of Public Health degree collected qualitative data to determine the most efficacious conduits for information sharing among Chinese- and Russian-speaking LEP persons who live in the City of Bellevue, Washington. This student conducted semi-structured interviews (SSIs) with 14 people who work with LEP populations in a variety of capacities, including English as a second language (ESL) teachers and providers at colleges, community- based organizations (CBOs), faith-based organizations (FBOs), and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), in addition to government employees of Bellevue and Seattle. All 14 interview participants focus on reaching vulnerable communities in their work. In addition, thirty- four participants completed qualitative, online surveys. This included government employees and medical interpreters (MIs) from Bellevue and Seattle. The student researcher applied a thematic analysis to gathered data to observe patterns. Major themes include desire for greater collaboration among existing, trusted conduits of communication among LEP communities; and integration of a new network of trusted advocates and ESL teachers and providers.

1. Create and formalize a cultural navigator network among City divisions that serve LEP communities.
2. Develop a relationship with the City’s ESL teacher and provider network and integrate them into the cultural navigator network.

Part of the 2018-2019 Livable City Year partnership between the University of Washington and the City of Bellevue.

See all Livable City Year projects in Bellevue that UW students and faculty worked on during the year-long partnership.

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