Reducing health disparities in the Deaf community: The impact of interpreters and the rise of deaf healthcare professionals

Christopher J. Moreland, Laurie Swabey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Deaf communities are as diverse as any other patient population - culturally, linguistically, and socially - and there are many important factors to consider related to healthcare and communication. As with other underserved healthcare minority groups, deaf people are at higher risk for experiencing serious healthcare disparities as compared to the general population. Signed language interpreters with specialised training in healthcare can contribute to reducing those disparities through multiple channels. However, interpreters are not the only avenue available to deaf patients seeking healthcare and, in many cases, using a language-concordant provider or a healthcare programme that is run by and for deaf people may be the preferred choice for the patient. In this chapter the systems within which qualified healthcare interpreters work and their impacts on the health of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing community are explored. Historical perspectives and critical issues in healthcare interpreting are described, as well as the means through which professional interpreting can impact deaf health outcomes. The chapter also addresses the significance of interpreters for deaf professionals seeking training and practice as clinicians, leading to critically important language concordance between deaf clinicians and deaf patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Translation and Health
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781000382655
ISBN (Print)9781138335349
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)


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