Alabama, cultural, hospitals, limited English proficiency, linguistic



  1. Davis, Jullet A. PhD
  2. Whitman, Marilyn V. PhD


Like several states in the Southeast, Alabama is in the nascent stages of an increase in the population of foreign-born individuals for whom English is a second language. These individuals are also culturally different from the traditional southern population. Given the impact of culture and language on a person's service utilization, the introduction of new cultures may pose significant challenges for Alabama's health care providers if they are not prepared. The purpose of this project is to examine the organizational characteristics associated with the provision of culturally and linguistically appropriate services by Alabama hospitals. The data for the project come from a survey of all medical/surgical hospitals (N = 101). Fifty-nine surveys were returned, giving us a 58% response rate. The data were analyzed using correlations, analysis of variance, and logistic regression. Approximately 47% of the sample hospitals reported having a staff interpreter. Furthermore, hospitals that had staff interpreters did seem to be more aware of their community, which was reflected in their mission statements. In addition, directors who viewed their role as fulfilling the strategic plan accepted the task of providing staff interpreters. Thus, several hospitals in Alabama seemed to be ready to meet the cultural and language needs of their markets.