Bridging Culture and Language: Encouraging Bilingual/Multicultural Individuals to Act as Information Navigators for Their Loved-Ones and Communities during the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Linguistically diverse communities face barriers to receiving appropriate health information. COVID-19 exacerbated these health-communication inequities. University of Washington researchers surveyed bilingual staff, students, and medical interpreters - desiring training to become effective communicators of COVID-19 information to their social networks and language communities. In response, the COVID-19 Information Navigator Training was developed and pre-tested with professional networks and members of the target audience. The final training comprised three interactive modules and short quizzes. Evaluation surveys measured Information Navigators' confidence in providing COVID-19 information to their social networks. Surveys included questions on the participants' language or cultural community, the perceived value of the training, and their ability to communicate COVID-19 information. Among 393 participants who enrolled in the training, 284 completed the survey. Significant differences in confidence before and after the course were found in detecting COVID misinformation in the news and social media (pre-course mean: 3.83, post-course mean: 4.63; absolute mean difference was 0.82 points higher in the post-evaluation on the 5-point likert scale, 95% CI: 0.70-0.93, p < .01). Training multicultural volunteers to disseminate information to their social networks is a promising strategy for reaching linguistically diverse communities with up-to-date information during health emergencies.