Community Voices: Exploring Cross-Cultural Care through Cancer

From The Fanlight Collection

Directed by Jennie Greene & Kim Newell

69 minutes / Color
Release: 2001
Copyright: 2001

Hear the voices and perspectives of nurses, doctors, outreach workers, medical interpreters, and patients: people from a fascinating range of backgrounds, who make up today's healthcare system. This innovative video offers a window into the challenges and rewards of cross-cultural healthcare. Drawing on the insights of community, healthcare, and academic leaders, it helps to integrate cultural awareness and skill building into training programs for all health professionals.

How do diverse languages and communication styles impact health care interactions? How do the meanings attributed to illness in different cultures affect people's experience of illness? What do people do to promote health or treat illness, and why? How do social context and personal history impact health behaviors? How do values regarding authority, gender, physical contact, decision making, and religion affect health? How can people work together to provide high-quality care to diverse individuals and communities?

Community Voices uses cancer as a lens to explore the many ways that differences in culture, race and ethnicity affect health and the delivery of healthcare services. Its six clearly defined sections are intended as triggers for discussion. They explore language, interpretation and communication styles; the meanings of illness; patterns of help seeking; social and historical context; core cultural issues; and building bridges.

"Very highly recommended. A top-notch teaching tool. Two strengths that stand out the most are its holistic approach to diversity and the masterful inclusion of a variety of ethnicities without singling out any one culture."—MC Journal

"This video thoughtfully balances the breadth of issues surrounding cross-cultural care. It captures the essence of this challenging and important subject and will help develop interest and appreciation for the topic among health care practitioners. All medical students should be exposed to the issues raised in this video."—Alexander Green, MD, Weill Medical College, Cornell University

<em."When used properly, this videotape can increase a healthcare professional's cultural sensitivity and awareness, which can only improve health encounters with diverse patients. Although cancer is the main example used, the issues raised can be applied to any kind of healthcare encounter."—David R. Risser, PhD, MPH, Texas Cancer Registry for Ethnicity and Disease

"This video has a lot to teach palliative care teams about working with people from other cultures."—End of Life Physicians Education Resource Center

"This is so needed: to be able to see from people's own experiences, talking in their own words. These are voices from the community."—Joan Whitaker, Director of Health Services, Action for Boston Community Development

"It is both very beautiful and right on the mark about providing cross-cultural health care."—Loretta Saint-Louis Director, Multilingual Interpreting, Cambridge Health Alliance

Other Ways to Watch

Colleges, Universities, Government Agencies, Hospitals, and Corporations

Purchase DVD for $248.00

Available for educational streaming from:


Harvard Center for Cancer Prevention
Jennie Greene & Kim Newell

Select Accolades

  • International Health and Medical Film Competition
  • Award of Excellence, American Medical Writers Association
  • Association of American Medical Colleges
  • American Association for Cancer Education
  • Symposium on Minorities, the Medically Underserved, and Cancer: Intercultural Cancer Council
  • American Association for Cancer Research
  • Cancer Research Foundation of America


Designed to introduce cultural competence and diversity skills to mental/behavioral health professionals and students who deal with multi-cultural client populations.

Harriet Koskoff | 2002 | 58 minutes | Color | English

A devout Muslim immigrant faces possible death from stomach cancer but cultural and linguistic confusions complicate his treatment in an American hospital.

Maren Grainger-Monsen, M.D. and Julia Haslett | 2006 | 58 minutes | Color | English

A series on cross-cultural healthcare. Four films raise awareness about how cultural barriers affect patient-provider communication and other aspects of care for patients of diverse backgrounds.

Maren Grainger-Monsen, M.D. and Julia Haslett | 2003 | 47 minutes | Color | English