As the US becomes increasingly more diverse, the presence of non-English speaking individuals also increases. With healthcare being a vital aspect of most individuals’ lives, it is drastically affected by any gap in communication, especially when a language barrier is present. For this investigation, I conducted a research study to examine the experiences of limited English proficiency (LEP) patients in healthcare using anthropological methods. The aim was to understand how having LEP affects patients. The primary form of data collection for this project consisted of Semi-structured interviews with a sample of individuals with LEP. In addition to interviews, I analyzed documents that shed light on the current and future policies as well as the public's perception on this topic. The results indicate that those individuals that a patient speaks with prior to the physician, including nurses and staff, pose an additional barrier to their healthcare. This research contributes to the current body of scholarship on language barriers in healthcare, which have been significantly lacking in patient perspectives. Through interviews, participants had the opportunity to voice their experiences and opinions, which they may have otherwise not been able to do, that could contribute to the development of better policies related to overcoming language barriers in health care. Further, this research could also contribute to better education practices for health practitioners with regards to language and health.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Mishtal, Joanna


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Sciences





Access Status

Open Access

Release Date


Included in

Anthropology Commons