Dr. Gian Hernandez

  • Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences: Persuasive Communication 
  • Nieuwe Achtergracht 166
    1018 WV Amsterdam
  • g.hernandez@uva.nl

Name: Dr. Gian Hernandez
PhD: 2021, Università della Svizzera italiana
Promotor: Prof. Jolanta Drzewiecka
MA: 2015, Universitaet Humboldt zu Berlin; FLACSO, Argentina
Research: My PhD research explored dynamics of inclusion and exclusion based on race, ethnicity, and nationality in the Swiss international higher education context. I recently joined the MHealth4All project spearheaded by Dr. Barbara Schouten at the University of Amsterdam. In this position, my research interests continue center around dynamics of difference within communication; this project’s focus is third country nationals seeking mental health services in multicultural and multilingual contexts.
Specialties: intercultural communication, diversity, race, ethnicity, discourse

Projects: Below is a list of the research projects I am (or was) involved in as a researcher and/or supervisor:

  • Mental HEALTH 4 ALL: Development and implementation of a digital platform for the promotion of access to mental healthcare for low language proficient third-country nationals in Europe

Despite high prevalence rates and under-utilisation of mental health services among LLP TCNs no European projects currently exist aimed at promoting access to these services for this target group by means of evidence-based information and communication-based interventions (Vaccaro et al., 2019). There have been several EU-funded projects aimed at training medical interpreters and/or healthcare providers to mitigate the language barrier in healthcare (e.g. MedInt, REactMe, TRICC), all pointing out that such trainings can be effective in enhancing healthcare providers’ and interpreters’ knowledge and skills in providing high-quality services for LLP TCN patients in general. However, these projects have not been specifically focused on mental healthcare services. Mental healthcare is not directly comparable to other types of healthcare services though, because of, for instance, culture-related barriers (e.g. culture-related taboo) to seeking help for and cultural differences in communicating about mental health disorders. Another set of EU-funded studies has focused on reducing health inequalities by improving the implementation of models and guidelines in practice to improve (access to) healthcare for asylum seekers and migrants (e.g. MyHealth, RESTORE, Mig-Healthcare). While these projects are invaluable in terms of supporting cross-cultural care and communication, these have also not been specifically targeted at LLP TCNs suffering from mental health disorders or have been narrower in scope than the proposed action, because they have focused on a specific subset of LLP TCNs (e.g. MyHealth has focused on women and unaccompanied minors newly arrived in Europe), which is problematic because of the wide variety in (mental) health disorders between different LLP TCN subgroups. Next, the last decade has seen a sharp increase in ICT-based EU projects in healthcare (e.g. ICT4life, My-AHA, FrailSafe), which has yielded valuable knowledge on how to effectively develop and implement ICT-based projects in healthcare practice. However, none of these projects have focused on mental healthcare for LLP TCNs. Hence, this action will build upon and extend the knowledge and expertise gained in previous projects by creating a synergy between these different knowledge fields and stakeholders that have mainly been studied separately so far. To be specific, we will build upon the knowledge gained from previous projects on training healthcare providers and interpreters by co-creating with multiple stakeholders educational online videos to improve skills and competencies in providing high-quality access to mental healthcare services for LLP TCNs. We will build upon the knowledge gained from previous implementation projects by co-creating and implementing multilingual patient educational materials suitable for various LLP TCNs patient groups (e.g. refugees, economic migrants newly arrived and long-term settled in their host countries) as well as a quality assessed database which includes relevant resources available to healthcare providers and LLP TCNs to support them in increasing access to their services for LLP TCNs (e.g. guidelines, remote interpreting services). Last, we will apply the knowledge and expertise gained from previous ICT-based projects in healthcare to design and evaluate a high quality effective European digital platform to promote access to mental healthcare for LLP TCNs. In combination, these activities extend beyond the current European projects carried out so far in this field and align with the recent call to action issued by the EU in 2020 to pay more attention to integration measures for TCNs in Europe in accessing mental healthcare services, promote more inclusive and integrative healthcare systems and ultimately decrease current health inequalities and enhance the human right to health in Europe.

  • Principal Investigator: Dr. Barbara Schouten
  • Status: ongoing since Winter 2021