Medical Interpreters and Community Health Workers
With nearly 50% of Chelsea’s population having limited English proficiency, the Medical Interpreters/Community Health Workers (MI/CHW) help to reduce barriers to health care by providing high-quality linguistic and navigation services to MGH Chelsea patients.
People with limited English proficiency (LEP) face a complicated and unfamiliar health care system, with additional barriers posed by language and cultural differences. In the City of Chelsea, a large and evolving immigrant and refugee population adds further complexity to medical care, presenting challenges related to extreme poverty, trauma, and distrust in governmental systems. The Medical Interpreters and Community Health Workers help patients overcome these barriers and successfully navigate the health care system. Over time, the program also works to help MGH Chelsea build trusting relationships with its existing and potential patients in order to bridge the various cultural, language, and social barriers to accessing health care resources.
MI/CHW staff members are both trained medical interpreters (MIs) and community health workers (CHWs), which allows them to facilitate medically accurate communication between LEP patients and health care providers. They are strong patient advocates and hold the language and cultural perspective necessary to help patients navigate within the health center, hospital, and larger community. Staff provides on-site interpretation and community health services for patients who speak Spanish, Portuguese, Dari, Russian, Arabic, Serbo-Croatian, Bosnian, French, Somali, American Sign Language, Nepali, Haitian Creole and May Maay. On-call interpreters are hired as needed for other languages, such as Albanian, Vietnamese, Korean, Tibetan, Tigrinya, Kunama, and Amharic.
In 2012, the Medical Interpreting/CHW Team reported:
- 9,414 patients served
- 16,356 Medical Interpreting encounters
- 11,501 Community Health Work encounters (a 14% increase from FY11)
- 1,060 On-call encounters coordinated (a 2% increase from FY11)
Multiple educational workshops were held for specific patient groups in association with the Immigrant and Refugee Program, the Food for Families Program, the Chelsea Police Department, and Chelsea Schools.
Phone: 617 887-3789