A day in the medical interpreters scrubs
My name is Brenda and I am the Director of the Community Health Workers Program! One of my main responsibilities is to serve as a medical interpreter for the doctors during clinics, as well as for the EMTs who do presentations for this project, and to be honest interpreting is one of my favorite things to do. Every clinic I get paired up with a doctor and sit through approximately 5-8 consults (depending on how busy the day is), and the conversations vary from translating about cold symptoms to family issues, to the towns chisme (gossip) lol. It's a very enjoyable role. Not only do I learn a lot about medicine from the questions the physician asks the patient, but I also get to know my community. By serving as an interpreter I get to learn about their families, their kids, their schools, what they eat, how they are feeling mentally, how they are feeling in regards to their community, I get to ask them how we can keep improving our service to them.
I am originally from Michoacan Mexico, however I purposely refer to Tijuana Progreso-Girasoles as my community because that's what it has become. Progreso-Girasoles is now so familiar to me, and the people are all so friendly and caring, always watching out for you that is difficult to not be part of their community. So the least I can do is return the care, and being an interpreter allows me to do so. As an interpreter I serve as the main medium of communication between someone's illness and their cure, I get to serve as the person that understands them, and helps them be understood. Being a Medical Interpreter is specially important in IHC because as an organization who focuses abroad, is important to adjust to our community in order to fully reach our mission. It is also something that although I'm fluent in Spanish, is not easy. Medical terminology is it's own language, and switching from English to Spanish back and forth can leave you mentally exhausted by the end of clinic. But nonetheless, is equally rewarding.
If you don't speak Spanish I invite you to learn (gossip is so much better in Mexico) lol, and if you speak other language(s) I encourage you to find opportunities where you can use that skill to help others. And lastly, I hope you see in IHC what I did and I invite you to apply to our team and get involved!
Mis mejores deseos,
Brenda B. Alvarez
Director of Community Health Workers Program & Secretary