UAMS

Stories involving the state's biggest medical facility and only medical school.

Doctors Urged To Tone Down Medical Jargon

Oct 11, 2018
UAMS

As part of Health Literacy Awareness Month this October, doctors and other health care professionals are being urged to ditch the medical jargon and adopt plain, real-world language that will be easier for patients and caregivers to understand and remember.

Arkansas Public Media spoke with Alison Caballero, program director with the UAMS Center for Health Literacy, about the effort to get health professionals to break the habit of using advanced medical terminology.  

Bobby Ampezzan / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

Holly Parker, 38, does not cover up when she breastfeeds her son Atlas, 1. In fact, he comes and goes as one does a drinking fountain, not a dinner table.

It's convenient for Parker to pull down one side of her loose-collared shirt. As for the exposure, "it helps that I don't have large breasts."

The North Little Rock high-risk obstetrics nurse and lactation counselor is evangelistic about breastfeeding. She fed her oldest, Story, from the breast until she was nearly 4.

Renea Goddard / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

Virginia Duck is the mother of Sequoia and Cheyenne, two young girls with growing feet. She and her daughters wait in line with nearly 60 other people who are in need of new shoes and footcare. She explains that her oldest, Sequoia, outgrows her shoes constantly.

"My oldest one here, she wears a size 11, bigger shoes than me, so, you know her feet are growing," says Virginia. "She’s only 13, so she’s growing bigger and bigger and bigger." 

Jacqueline Froelich / Arkansas Public Media

  

Dr. Sheldon Riklon walks into an examination room inside Community Clinic in Springdale and greets his patient.

"Iakwe," he says, and slides a stool over to Haem Mea, a shy Marshallese elder. The two speak softly to one another for a few moments.

Then he poses this question: So what's it like to have a real Marshallese doctor in town?

“Really helpful,” Mea says, grinning.

Riklon is one of only two U.S. trained Marshallese doctors in the world. He relocated from the Hawaiin islands last year to Northwest Arkansas where the largest population of migrants from the Republic of the Marshall Islands in the world now reside.

Dr. Riklon practices family medicine at Community Clinic, a federally qualified health center which last year served more than 36,000 middle- to low-income patients in Benton and Washington Counties, thousands of them Marshallese. And many of them are really sick. 

UAMS

Physician assistants don’t have the same level of education as a doctor but do many of the same things, but they're being credited with helping to fill some of the scheduling gaps that have long been a problem in rural Arkansas.

Supporters of the profession say physician assistants can help with writing prescriptions for common illnesses, setting simple fractures and assisting with long-term management for illnesses such as diabetes.  Physician assistants were also the highest level of medical professional to attend the recent executions in Arkansas.

  

  Housed deep inside Education Building Two on the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences campus is the state’s only dedicated repository for medical history, devices and photographs, and physician’s personal papers.