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New Health Website Helps Bridge Divide

New Health Website Helps Bridge DivideAunique online resource created by the Tufts Health Science Libraryprovides Asian Americans with a health resource that speaks theirlanguage.Boston

Boston [04.14.05] In the practice of medicine, language barriers cansometimes prevent the communication of critical health informationbetween caregiver and patient. But thanks to SPIRAL(Selected Patient Information Resources in Asian Languages), anew Web site developed by Tufts' Health Sciences Library, patientswhose first language is Chinese, Hmong, Khmer, Korean, Laotian,Thai or Vietnamese can now access detailed health documents intheir own language, and doctors can know what materials theirpatients are reading.

"By providingthese resources, selected from respected health sites, the HealthSciences Library at Tufts is contributing to helping these populationsbecome better informed and, hopefully, healthier," said librarydirector Eric Albright.

The BostonGlobe reported that SPIRAL is among a number of online initiativesby local universities seeking to globalize scientific informationon a local scale. However, SPIRAL is unique because it enablespatients and caregivers to search for information about diseases,ailments, substance abuse, nutrition and much more. Informationis divided by both language and subject,

"To completethe circle, the information is also provided in English,"added Albright. "It’s one stop for essential healthinformation for Asian Americans whose native language is not English.It’s also following a Tufts tradition – providingelectronic resources in our international community."

"SPIRALprovides a central source of health information for Asian Americansand their physicians/caregivers. We’ve selected the Websites with the best medical information and we’ll continueto provide access to more Web sites and more documents,"said Deputy Director Cora Ho.

The creationof SPIRAL was sponsored in part by the National Network of Librariesin Medicine (NN/LM), New England Region. A partner in the creationof SPIRAL is South Cove Community Health Center, a primary andpreventative health center for Asian Americans in New England.

"SPIRALbridges the gap between patients speaking Asian languages andtheir health care providers by providing valuable medical informationin both languages. The health care provider can direct a patientto a trusted site while the patient gets the benefit of informationin his/her own language,” said Elaine Martin, New Englandregional director for the NN/LM.
















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