reaching out to the vietnamese community

This is an interesting Los Angeles Times story on how social service organizations in Orange County—home to the nation's largest Vietnamese population—are finding more effective, culturally sensitive ways to provide health care advice to clients with different values and traditions: Orange County social services reach out to Vietnamese community.

It isn't quite as simple as translating brochures and hiring native-speaking staff. Agencies are now seeing a need to craft programs that reexamine the subtle parts of Vietnamese culture, including food and lifestyle habits as well as cultural taboos. It's a more nuanced, culturally relevant approach to conveying some very basic information.

For instance, it's probably not the best strategy for Planned Parenthood to start yelling out, "Free condoms! Free condoms!" at an information session with recent Vietnamese immigrants, no matter how strongly you feel about the practice of safe sex. Bad idea, which they apparently learned the hard way.

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