In the months following Hurricane Maria in 2017, the Latino and Hispanic population in Lorain, OH started to grow and has been ever since.
“Lorain is so unique because we have 29% of our community that speaks Spanish,” says Catherine Woskobnick, Director of Community Health at Mercy Health – Lorain Hospital.
As the Spanish speaking population in Lorain began to grow, Catherine saw a need to partner with a local organization who could help our team members deliver the best care possible to patients.
“El Centro provides translation services that allow both our patients and our care team to effectively communicate; enabling better care as well as help our patients have greater understanding of their health,” Catherine shares.
El Centro has been working with our physical and speech therapy programs in Lorain for several years now. Since then, the partnership has grown. John Vega is just one of several translators from El Centro that have made a lasting impression on both our team members and patients.
Shannon Rollins, the secretary for Lorain’s outpatient physical therapy program shares, “John from El Centro is always willing to go above and beyond. Recently, he had left the building when we had an unscheduled patient showed up. We were able to see her but needed a translator. I called his cell phone and he was still in the parking lot. With no hesitation he came back to the office and translated”.
John also shared his personal experience and why he enjoys working with the patients at Mercy Health.
“I know first-hand what it is like not to be able to speak English,” John says. “I am familiar with the frustration and the sense of helplessness of not being able to convey a thought or ask a question. As a medical interpreter for five years now, I’ve seen the importance of providing clients with trained interpreters.”
Even the current COVID-19 pandemic didn’t stop John from doing the work he loves most.
“During COVID-19, I made the choice to continue to serve clients in my community through translation needs. I have had the pleasure of meeting clients on the day of their initial assessment for therapy, followed them through their journey of recovery for the following few weeks or months, all the way to their last day when they were finally discharged. I’ve heard patients express how happy they felt with the way they were treated by all the staff. They feel valued. It is very satisfying to be able to be that connection between a patient and their therapist.”
Our collaboration with El Centro offers an invaluable service to the Lorain community. Our Spanish-speaking patients and their families benefit from an in-person interpreter, providing care in real time.
“Working with an in-person interpreter allows me to provide culturally and linguistically competent services to the patients I serve,” says Sarah Stanton, MA, CCC-SLP, a speech pathologist at Mercy Health. “My pediatric patients love working with our El Centro interpreters during speech sessions and often ask them to join in on our games! The El Centro interpreters are professional, care for the patients we serve, and, most importantly, our patients love working with them.”
It’s truly a blessing to have such a great partner in our community.
Joy Agosto, coordinator of clerical services at Lorain physical therapy shares “El Centro’s services are extremely important to our ministry. One of our promises is to make health care easier. In-person Spanish translators from El Centro certainly help us meet that promise for our large Spanish population.”