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Patient Educ Couns. 2003 May;50(1):51-4.

Consumer-provider communication research with special populations.

Author information

  • Chronic Disease Prevention and Control Research Center, Baylor College of Medicine, 8207 Callaghan Rd., Suite 110, San Antonio, TX 78230, USA. aramirez@bcm.tmc.edu


As the US population becomes increasingly diverse, understanding consumer-provider communication among special populations becomes of paramount importance. Cultural competence is a key element in improving communication between non-minority providers and minority patients. This includes overcoming sociocultural and linguistic barriers that hinder access to care and diminish quality consumer-provider communication. Of special concern is the lack of cancer prevention communication between providers and their special population patients. More research is needed to understand cancer communication needs and barriers among special populations, and to direct effective interventions to improve consumer-provider communication for special populations. To this end, interactive training to improve communication skills among oncologists and medical students, increasing the availability of trained medical translators, increasing the number of health professionals from special populations, and increasing the number of special population participants in communication research are recommended. Furthermore, research should focus on identifying and overcoming cultural factors that negatively impact consumer-provider interactions.

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