Overcoming Language Barriers During the Diagnostic Process of Rare Neuroimmune Disorders: Paula Barreras, MD


The physician neurologist and neuroimmunologist at Cedars Sinai Medical Center detailed the difficulties with discussing neuroimmune disorders with newly diagnosed patients, including those who may not speak English. [WATCH TIME: 3 minutes]

WATCH TIME: 3 minutes

"People have different ways in which they communicate, and cultural and social factors affect the way they relate their problems. I think if we all listen a little better, then we can better cater advice to the needs of our patients."

Neurologists face a dilemma when communicating with their conversion disorder patients—whether to be frank, and lose the patient’s trust, or to disclose less, in the hope of building a therapeutic relationship. Over the years, communicating medical information has become increasingly recognized as a core medical skill and responsibility. In the case of neuroimmune disorders, the path to better treatment outcomes comes with an accurate and early diagnosis, especially considering a lot of these disorders overlap with each other.

Each year, the Siegel Rare Neuroimmune Association (SRNA) hosts an RNDS symposium, bringing together those diagnosed with these disorders and the clinicians and researchers interested in them. The virtually educational and advocacy event has 2 different dates, an English version on November 11th and a Spanish version upcoming on December 2nd. For the Spanish RNDS, attendees will learn more about the origins of these disorders, the current treatment strategies, and the latest, ongoing research being conducted in the field.

Prior to the meeting, NeurologyLive® sat down with Paula Barreras, MD, a member of the organizing committee for the meeting, to discuss the initial conversations that occur when discussing a new diagnosis for Spanish-speaking individuals. Barreras, physician neurologist and neuroimmunologist at Cedars Sinai Medical Center, provided perspective on the way to approach these discussions, as well as the ways to continue to support and reach Latinx and Spanish-speaking communities.

For those interested in the event, registration can be found here.

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