Date of Award

Spring 5-2018

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Foreign Languages and Literature

First Advisor

Chris Miles

Advisor Department

Foreign Languages and Literature


As the number of Spanish speaking immigrants coming to the United States increases, there will also be an increase in the number of LEP patients will seek medical care. In Hattiesburg, Mississippi alone there are over 7,000 people listed as Hispanic/Latino (2010 Census, This research examines the experiences of LEP patients in the Hattiesburg area and focuses on three main areas: (1) if a language barrier exists for these patients when they seek care (2) if the quality of care of these patients is affected by the inability of the patient and provider to orally communicate (3) if the health literacy level of LEP patients is impacted in a negative manner. The study provides perspectives from patients, providers, and a medical interpreter in order to fully show what these medical experiences are like for all parties involved. Eight LEP patients were interviewed in a 20-30 minute sit down sessions along with a non-Spanish-speaking provider and a medical interpreter. The interview dialogs indicated that (1) a language barrier does exist for LEP patients in the Hattiesburg area, (2) all 10 interviewees agreed that the quality of care provided to LEP patients is negatively affected due to the inability of patients and providers to orally communicate, and (3) all 10 interviewees agreed that LEP patients’ health literacy is or could be negatively affected due to the language barrier found in Hattiesburg. No bilingual provider was able be located to participate in the study, indicating a lack of accessibility for LEP patients to use bilingual providers. Common themes of frustration, optimism, and desire to see improvements were present throughout the interviews. This study can serve as a beginning of a conversation of how v improvements could be made to the care of LEP patients in Hattiesburg and includes suggestions from patients, a provider, and a medical interpreter.