90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Here and Now with Robin Young
Public radio's live
midday news program
With sponsorship from
Mathworks - Accelerating the pace of engineering and science
Accelerating the pace
of engineering and science
Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Teaching Foreign-Born Doctors The Ways Of Rural Iowa

Have you ever had trouble communicating with a doctor from a different background? A quarter of all medical doctors in the U.S. are foreign born, and that’s led to some misunderstandings in places like rural Iowa, where farmers are trying to communicate medical problems to doctors from India or Egypt.

In Iowa they’re trying to bridge that gap with a cultural literacy program that teaches foreign-born doctors how to make small talk about farming, why Iowans keep talking about the University of Iowa Hawkeyes.

Doctors are also taught how to recognize and respond when a patient is acting “Iowa nice,” meaning they don’t open up about certain illnesses in fear of inconveniencing the doctor.

The program is at the Mercy Medical Center in Mason City, Iowa, and it’s created and taught by two University of Northern Iowa Professors: Michelle Devlin and Mark Grey.

Mark Grey, anthropology professor, told Here & Now’s Robin Young that “We spend an awful lot of time talking about understatement, how polite they [Iowans] tend to be, which of course drives foreign-born doctors nuts because they come from cultures that tend to be much more expressive.”

Guest:

  • Mark Grey, anthropologist at the University of Northern Iowa

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

September 18 Comment

Terry Gilliam Goes Back To The Dystopian Future

Terry Gilliam's new film, "The Zero Theorem" will be familiar to his fans.

September 18 5 Comments

DJ Sessions: Kansas’ ‘Retro Cocktail Hour’

"Space age pop" and "incredibly strange music" are the songs of the day on this installment of the DJ Sessions.

September 17 21 Comments

Volkswagen’s 300 MPG Car

The XL-1 can get 300 miles per gallon. The key is reducing wind resistance.

September 17 41 Comments

How Has The Obesity Epidemic Disrupted Romance?

The health impacts of the obesity epidemic are well-documented. Less studied are its ramifications for romance.