Spanish Pediatric Otolaryngology Clinic

Juliana Bonilla-Velez, MD
Pediatric otolaryngologist
Seattle Children’s Hospital
Assistant Professor, Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery
University of Washington

Studies have shown that having language-concordant and culture-concordant patient-physician relationships result in improved patient care, patient experience, and most importantly, health outcomes. Strategies to improve patient care are critically important in a vulnerable segment of the population known to have less involvement in care, lower levels of trust in providers, less satisfaction with care and experience greater difficulty with communication. Having providers who are race-concordant and language-concordant with their patients has been linked to increased participatory decision-making, higher physician ratings, better understanding of their disease, greater compliance and greater patient satisfaction. These benefits may be particularly meaningful when providing surgical care.

In an effort to better serve the Spanish-speaking population in the region, the division of pediatric otolaryngology has developed the Spanish Pediatric Otolaryngology Clinic at Seattle Children’s Hospital. The Spanish Pediatric Otolaryngology Clinic aims to serve patients who prefer to receive their medical care in Spanish. The clinic will care for patients 0-21 years old with general otolaryngology or head and neck concerns such as sleep disordered breathing, tonsillitis, adenoiditis, ear infections, eustachian tube dysfunction, tympanic membrane perforations, hearing evaluation, stridor, epistaxis, neck masses, congenital anomalies, head and neck infections, ankyloglossia, dysphagia, nasal congestion, sinus problems, as well as vascular anomalies in the head and neck. Initially patients will be able to speak in Spanish with their provider – an otolaryngologist head and neck surgeon. Our goal is to provide a seamless Spanish experience through all points of clinical contact with the family, from their check-in through clinic discharge.

We are optimistic that through the Spanish Pediatric Otolaryngology Clinic we will be better able to serve our Spanish-speaking families. This initiative is led by Dr. Juliana Bonilla-Velez, a native Colombian, board-certified and fellowship-trained pediatric otolaryngology, head and neck surgeon who joined the Seattle Children’s faculty last year. Her efforts have been met with great enthusiasm by the institution. We hope to announce the start date for the clinic in the next few months.