2.1 Objectives


Through this module, you will:

  • Understand the importance of assuring optimal communication with refugee patients
  • Enhance your communication skills and learn basic concepts to facilitate working with interpreters
  • Be introduced to helpful resources to assist you during a cross-cultural medical encounter
  • Learn additional skills for improving communication with older adults
  • Improve competency in mental health care

Host Introduction Video

Read video transcript

Hola, soy la doctora Mariella Ferreyra and I’d like to welcome you to the Communication Module. I trained as a physician in Peru before coming to Canada to pursue a Masters degree in Epidemiology and Community Medicine at the University of Ottawa.

Because of my experiences working back home, I developed an interest for underserved communities, or populations which frequently encounter barriers when accessing health care. One of these barriers is communication, particularly in the field of refugee health. Although “Communication” encompasses a broad range of topics, this module will focus on Interpretation and how to improve your communication skills during a cross-cultural encounter.

As health care providers, we have a unique opportunity to create strong relationships based on trust, respect and mutual understanding. It is important to maintain these qualities even when there is a language barrier present, to ensure our patients receive comprehensive, culturally sensitive and high quality care. Bienvenidos!

Duration: 57 seconds


Photo of a doctor speaking to a mother and her child through an interpreter.

Physician: “Do you hear voices?”
Interpreter: “Escucha voces?” (Do you hear voices?)
Patient: “Claro que escucho voces, los oigo hablar a ustedes ahorita” (Of course I hear voices, I am hearing you speaking right now)
Interpreter: “Yes, she hears voices”

Omissions, substitutions and additions are just a few of the many errors that can occur during interpretation and can lead to serious health outcomes