CIPHERS Seed Grant Funding Leads to Development of Bilingual Physicians Project

Tao Wang
Dawn DeWitt, MD, senior associate dean for CIPHERS and Tao Wang, MD, clinical assistant professor, at the AAMC Conference in Nov. 2023.

A clinical professor in the WSU College of Medicine is using recently awarded grant funding to improve Chinese language and cultural competency in clinical settings.

In the spring of 2023, the Collaboration for Interprofessional Health Education Research and Scholarship (CIPHERS) opened applications for seed grant funding. Tao Wang, MD, PhD, a clinical assistant professor in the college and adult hospitalist for Providence Kadlec Regional Medical Center in the Tri-Cities, submitted a proposal titled, “Cultivating medical students to become bilingual physicians.”

CIPHERS selected Wang for the funding. Drawing upon training she gained as a participant in the CIPHERS Education Scholars Program to transform educational activity into scholarly activity, Wang designed a pilot study to cultivate medical students to become bilingual physicians. The purpose is two-fold—to build the training physicians’ personal identify formation and improve patients’ safety.

Wang also advises the Medical Chinese Interest Group formed by several first- and second-year medical students. Their purpose is to improve Chinese language and cultural competency in health care. Wang’s project gives this group more opportunities to practice interview skills with Chinese-speaking patients.

In October, Wang and a group of 15 WSU medical students participated in the first-ever Tri-Cities Chinese Community Health Fair hosted on the WSU Tri-Cities campus. As they answered questions and provided basic medical screenings, the group’s work made important steps to improve health care access and equity among non-English speaking patients.