Mandarin-speaking group booking a success in Maroondah

Bilingual Health Promotion Officer Gracy Wu, client Ms Yang, Receptionist Liz Lovell, and Acting Designated Radiographer Kerryn Fitzgerald.

A recent group screening session in Maroondah saw lapsed Mandarin-speaking clients re-engage with the BreastScreen Victoria program.

Bilingual Health Promotion Officer Gracy Wu facilitated the group screening session. Gracy speaks both Mandarin and Cantonese and has worked with clients from non-English speaking backgrounds for more than ten years. She enjoys leading group bookings and providing language assistance to clients from diverse backgrounds.

The women who took part in this session had not screened with BreastScreen Victoria for at least three years, with many citing the language barrier as the main reason they had not returned for their recommended two-yearly screen.

Michelle Clemson, Program Manager at Maroondah BreastScreen, believes group bookings are a great way to reconnect with these women.

“I think group bookings provide culturally and linguistically diverse members of the community with more confidence to attend screening appointments. Hopefully, the confidence they gain on these group bookings will encourage them to return to screening in two years.”

Bilingual Health Promotion Officer Gracy Wu.

In-language support for these clients began well before their breast screen. Gracy called each one in Mandarin to arrange the group screening session and answer any questions about the BreastScreen program. On the day, she greeted clients at the entrance to the Maroondah Hospital, helped them fill out their English questionnaire, and escorted them to the clinic.

Five women screened on the day, and the feedback from the group was very positive.

“They all felt relieved after their screen and were eager to encourage friends to do routine breast screening, too,” said Gracy.

Gracy credits the team at Maroondah BreastScreen for the success of the day. “The staff were so friendly and supportive, which helped them to bond with clients. Liz at reception warmly welcomed everyone, and the radiographers Lata, Jenelle, and Kerryn allowed extra time for me to interpret.”

Equally, Michelle said, “Gracy’s expertise made a typically challenging process for clients with minimal English into a friendly and pleasant experience.”