Pheng Cing, APRN-CNP, specializes in family medicine and speaks fluent Burmese, Zomi, Zo and English. Along with Cing Taithul, business relations liaison, Pheng provides a unique service to assist Burmese and Zomi speakers who need medical care. Pheng and Cing shared their stories with KOTV - News on 6. Click here to view their story.
Utica Park Clinic is trying to meet the needs of the large population of Zomi and Burmese people now living in Tulsa.
The hospital is now providing a translator and a nurse practitioner who speak the language and can guide these families through the process step by step.
This help is so important because some of these families have never had any type of healthcare, period. And now, when patients have the wrong medication or dosage or need treatment, they have somewhere to go.
A language barrier keeps many people who only speak Burmese and Zomi from getting the care they need.
"Most of the community will speak enough English to get by day to day. Work, school, but when it comes to medical field the whole medical terminology is different. They're not able to express their needs in English as well as they could in their own language and so that's where I come in just to be the bridge between patients and providers,” said Cing Taithul, Business Relations Liaison.
Cing Taithul was born in Burma and said since starting as an interpreter at Utica Park Clinic, she has seen lots of patients who come back and more than 300 new ones.
She said the population continues to grow rapidly.
"I ask them, why did you come to Tulsa, did you have relatives here? They're like well because of services like this,” said Cing Taithul. “Tulsa has the largest Zomi community in America.”
She understands what it’s like to move to America and figure out English.
"I was born and raised in Burma. My family moved here 22 years ago and when we first moved here there may be 30 of us so it was a very close community, and we all helped each other out and obviously, my family didn't speak a word of English. I went to Jenks, I think knowing hello, goodbye, thank you,” said Taithul. "My parents didn't really know much English, and we have families here that never really had any type of healthcare, period. So, with them being diabetic, having hypertension and having cholesterol, I always was brought to my parents' appointments with them to help them translate. So, I grew up doing this."
Taithul and Nurse Practitioner Pheng Cing created translated medical documents.
"You just feel so good like OK I'm making difference,” said Pheng Cing, Nurse Practitioner. “Seeing the population need and then them coming here and making them say, ‘Oh my Lord, I feel better you know, I'm gonna bring my family over, we're all gonna come see you,’ that kind of stuff, it's a privilege to make difference.”
"I just kind of feel like my whole life was being prepared for this position,” said Cing Taithul.
Taithul knows firsthand how confusing it can be for patients.
It wasn't until she learned English, she learned she had a heart condition.
"If someone had listened to me, if someone had been able to understand better how I feel, you know, I feel like I wouldn't have gone through this for so many years,” said Pheng Cing.
Pheng Cing said diabetes and high blood pressure are two of the biggest health problems Burmese people face.