Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 428–435 | Cite as

“Can I Ask That?”: Perspectives on Perinatal Care After Resettlement Among Karen Refugee Women, Medical Providers, and Community-Based Doulas

  • Kate LaMancusoEmail author
  • Roberta E. Goldman
  • Melissa Nothnagle
Original Paper


This study characterized the perspectives of Karen refugee women in Buffalo, NY, their medical providers, and Karen interpreters/doulas on perinatal care for Karen women in resettlement. In-depth qualitative interviews with Karen women (14), Karen doulas/interpreters and key informants (8), and medical providers (6) were informed by the social contextual model and focused on women’s questions about and opinions of perinatal care in Buffalo and on providers’ experiences caring for Karen patients. Karen women expressed gratitude for and understanding of perinatal care in Buffalo, and providers described Karen patients as agreeable but shy. Karen doulas offered an alternative view that exposed women’s many questions and concerns, and described how doula training empowered them as patients’ advocates. Low self-efficacy, trauma histories, and cultural expectations may contribute to Karen women’s seeming agreeability. Doulas/interpreters possess insider knowledge of women’s concerns and facilitate communication between patients and the care team.


Perinatal health care Refugee Burma (Myanmar) Community-based doula Cross-cultural communication 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kate LaMancuso
    • 1
    Email author
  • Roberta E. Goldman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Melissa Nothnagle
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Family MedicineThe Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University/Memorial Hospital of Rhode IslandPawtucketUSA
  2. 2.Department of Social and Behavioral SciencesHarvard T.H. Chan School of Public HealthBostonUSA

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