Arizona State University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Chicana and Chicano StudiesLatino Health Issues

Choosing the Right Doctor


Many times cost is a big part of the decision of whether or not to go to the doctor for new immigrants. 4 There are many free and low cost clinics available if you know where to look and do some research. Insure Kids Now is paid for by the U.S. government's Health and Human Resources department to get free or low cost insurance for kids. This includes families with different immigrant status. There is also Medicaid for pregnant women, children, the elderly and disabled and Medicare for people over 65. The Bureau of Primary Health Care also lists clinics with dentists and pregnancy doctors for people with little or no insurance and those that can't pay. A website done by an ASU student on La Clinica offers more information on this subject.


When choosing a doctor, you need to keep language in mind. Does your doctor speak Spanish very well or do you speak English? If you've chosen a doctor you like, but they don't speak your language well enough, you may want to get an interpreter. 6

Many times the doctor's office will know of a good interpreter, so call ahead and plan for the interpreter to be there. Community groups may also be in touch with an interpreter. You may want to use a family member or neighbor to interpret for you, but sometimes they may not know how to translate the right term. They may give you a close word that does not mean the same thing. It's best to ask around and have a skilled medical interpreter if possible. Make sure you understand what the interpreter is telling you even if you have to have them repeat it several times!

Sometimes it's hard to understand a doctor even when they are speaking the same language! It's okay to ask them what a medical term means, or to ready yourself, you can go through a free medical terms guide from Des Moines University.


There are doctor's that specialize in every part of the body. For example, a podiatrist specializes in feet and an obstetrician specializes in pregnancy. A list of specialty titles and what they do can be found at SOCH Connect, the website for Southern Ocean County Hospital. A generalized doctor that is an expert in internal medicine is called a general doctor and is usually the person you see when you go to the doctor's office.

You doctor can suggest an expert to you if you need one. If you have a particular condition or set of symptoms, many times a specialist will know more about your problem and how to help you than a general doctor. If your regular doctor think s you need to see a expert, they will give you the name of someone they know and trust.



Accessibility | Privacy | ASU Disclaimer This site was created by Kathleen Fischer in fulfillment of requirements for the course CSS 335: Latino Health Issues taught by Dr. Szkupinski Quiroga at Arizona State University, Spring 2007.