Health researchers at the University of Utah are shaping health care in partnership with the deaf community

Newswise – Navigating healthcare is difficult enough when English is your first language – imagine the difficulties when American Sign is your first language. How can we bridge the language and cultural differences needed to provide better patient care? University of Utah Health is proud to present this language of carean incredible story of how a community of deaf patients is breaking down barriers by developing their own care in partnership with University of Utah health researchers.

Made possible by the generous support of the Kahlert Foundation, language of care Premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. The film showcases an innovative approach to healthcare co-developed by Michelle Litchman, PhD, her research team and members of the deaf community from across the country. Together they run a program called Deaf Diabetes Can Together. Litchman is a registered nurse, diabetes researcher, and medical director of the Intensive Diabetes Education and Support (IDEAS) program at the University of Utah.

Nearly 40 million people in the US are living with diabetes, but the majority of deaf people with diabetes do not have equal access to health care. The film tells the story of how Deaf Diabetes Can Together creates health equity solutions in the deaf community. By understanding the unique needs of the community, the team tailors educational and other types of resources to improve access to accurate information and care. This model is replicated for rural, Pacific Islander and other resource deprived communities.

“Together with our patients, we are changing the way healthcare works,” explains Litchman language of care.

Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Ross Kauffman came to Utah to document it language of care Story. Kauffman has directed a number of award-winning films including Born into brothels, Of medicine and miraclesand tiger country. language of care was produced by Robin Honan with executive producers Joe Borgenicht of U of U Health, award-winning documentary maker Geralyn Dreyfous and Heather Kahlert of the Kahlert Foundation.

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language of care is the third film in the New Narratives in Health series produced by U of U Health, which brings together scientists and artists to communicate advances in knowledge more broadly. The first movie in the series One in a million, tells the story of how advanced genomic technologies combined with expert clinical insights have dramatically improved the quality of life for Tyler, a boy with a rare, debilitating disease. The second, meet me where i amfollows Adolphus Nickleberry on his journey in the U of U Health ICU as he rewrites a story marked by health differences.

Learn more at languageofcareutah.org.

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About Health from the University of Utah

University of Utah Health provides state-of-the-art and compassionate care to a referral area that includes Idaho, Wyoming, Montana and much of Nevada. U of U Health is a center for health science research and education in the region and has a $458 million research company. It educates scientists and the majority of Utah’s physicians and healthcare providers from medicine at its Colleges of Health, Nursing, Pharmacy, and Schools of Dentistry. With more than 20,000 employees, the system includes 12 community clinics and five hospitals. U of U Health is nationally recognized as a transformative healthcare system and provider of world-class care.

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