Elaine K Hsieh

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Personal profile

Research interests

My research interests focus on interpersonal issues in health contexts, with an emphasis on cross-cultural care. I have been involved in research on bilingual/cross-cultural health care for over 20 years. I currently pursue two lines of research dealing with health communication for non-English speaking and/or minority patients: (a) interpreter-mediated medical encounters and cross-cultural care, and (b) social support and health literacy in cultural contexts. I am particularly interested in (a) developing a model of bilingual health communication to explain and predict the effectiveness and appropriateness of interpreter-mediated medical encounters, (b) investigating how patients’ (cultural-specific) social support and health literacy influence their coping strategies and health behaviors, and (c) generating a theoretical model of coping that accounts for the social process and temporal aspects of illness management. My new book, Rethinking Culture in Health Communication (2021), is an extension of this line of work by situating culture front and center in conceptualizing health theories and health policies. It is one of the first books to present a systematic framework to challenge and consider cultural perspectives and presumptions embedded in health theories in communication, public health, and health policies.

In recent years, I have been developing a new research line that emerged from my interests in legal issues in health policy. This research line centers on two issues: (1) the discrepancies between legal standards and known factors and practices for quality of care and (2) reconceptualizing privacy boundaries, patient autonomy, self-determinism, and health management in the era of genomic medicine. Going forward, I would like to examine how genetic technology and medicine present challenges to individuals’ management of health, privacy, and relationships. I am also interested in examining how institutional practices (e.g., informed consent), health policies (e.g., biobank management), and medicine in general (e.g., use and research of genetic materials) should respond to such paradigm shift in meanings of autonomy, privacy, and property interests.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

Education/Academic qualification

Juris Doctor, University of Oklahoma

Award Date: May 15 2019

PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Award Date: May 15 2004

MA, Translation and Interpretation (Chinese-English), Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey

Award Date: May 15 1999

BA, Double Majors: Chinese Literature; English Literature

Award Date: Jun 15 1997

External Positions

Visiting Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

2011 → …

Professor, University of Oklahoma

Aug 15 2004Jul 14 2022

Edith Kinney Gaylord Presidential Professor, The University of Oklaaoma

Research Interest Keywords

  • health communication
  • health behaviors
  • healthcare interpreting
  • Health care delivery
  • health disparities
  • social and environmental justice
  • culture and health
  • Cross-Cultural Communication
  • intercultural skills
  • medical sociology
  • Medical Humanities


The Fingerprint is created by mining the titles and abstracts of the person's research outputs and projects/funding awards to create an index of weighted terms from discipline-specific thesauri.
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