Studies have shown that limited English proficiency (LEP) individuals are more financially vulnerable than the average American, affecting their access to quality healthcare. Tens of thousands of LEP individuals live in the Columbus area, many of whom rely on free clinics that cannot adequately provide for their linguistic needs. The language barrier hinders effective caregiver-patient communication, negatively impacting health outcomes and medication compliance while causing other health disparities.
To alleviate this issue, Vocalize Columbus connects volunteer interpreters with free clinics in need.
Students that wish to participate are first certified through The Community Interpreter: Medical Focus (TCI), a workshop run through the Center for Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at The Ohio State University. TCI and The Translation and Interpretation Certificate Program at The Ohio State University train students in medical interpretation. Upon completion of these courses and a nationally-recognized certification exam, our program will connect these certified volunteers with free clinics in need, offering free remote video interpretation. By participating in this program, students will gain volunteer/clinical hours for medical or graduate school, acquire first-hand experience in patient care, and give back to a community in need.
Free clinics are always better able to help their patients when funding is freed up; by providing interpretation services for free, we hope to help the clinics that need it the most.