At Jamaica Hospital Medical Center in Queens, N.Y., Dr. Alan Roth oversees care delivery operations for one of the most diverse patient populations in the country, serving people from 130 countries speaking more than 160 languages.
During the 30 years Roth has worked at Jamaica Hospital, Queens County has doubled in size from a population of 1.2 million to 2.4 million with the increase almost entirely made up of immigrants, including an estimated 400,000 individuals with undocumented resident status.
Roth acknowledged there is a challenge to serving people from so many different backgrounds and understanding their cultural religious beliefs. But the dynamic has also provided opportunities for the hospital to learn effective ways of building relationships with various cultures that goes beyond providing language translation services or hiring a more diver clinical staff.
“Translation is the easiest,” Roth said. “You need to have an understanding of their customs and beliefs,