Emory Volunteer Medical Interpretation Services (EVMIS)
Founded in 2011, Emory VMIS is a student-run organization that provides free Spanish and Portuguese interpreters to clinics in underserved areas of Atlanta. Every single member of our team is trained to become a professional medical interpreter and bridge the communication gap between patients and physicians. The professional interpreter training covers human anatomy and physiology, interpreting techniques, basic knowledge of regulations surrounding interpretive services, as well as code of ethics to entirely prepare our members. With 35 members, we volunteer weekly at Good Samaritan Health Center, totaling 280 hours of volunteering a year. Last year, we also began our partnership with Ethne Health, a community clinic located in Clarkson, where our volunteers are on-call during all 35 clinic hours of the week. We, from Emory VMIS, believe not just in volunteering, but also in creating the connection between patients and physicians.
Why are Medical Interpreters Needed?
About 56.7% of the Limited English Proficiency population speak Spanish, or 210,580 people just in the Metro Atlanta area. That is 210,580 people that cannot communicate in English and often need a family member or interpreter for any type of conversation.
According to Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, patients with limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English are entitled to language assistance provided by the healthcare facility. But the reality is, small clinics and free health fairs often struggle to afford interpreters, and many of them aren’t able to provide them at all. Here’s where VMIS is helpful, we are able to help clinics and patients by providing free interpreters in Atlanta.
Why Does Your Support Matter?
All of our members go through a 40-hour medical interpreter training provided by ALTA Language Services. VMIS recruits ten students every Fall, and with the cost per student being $650, we need $6500 yearly just to sustain the interpreter training. Additionally, we still have the cost of transportation to and from clinics. With $9750, we would be able to train a new class of 15 members. This is why your support matters.
With a substantial number of Portuguese and Spanish speakers at Emory University, the largest constraint for students and staff members is the cost of training. Today we professionally train ten new members a year, but with your help we could expand the reach of VMIS by accepting more members, directly affecting the entire Atlanta community. The professional training covers all the essential facets for interpretation and ensures a better physician to patient encounter. You not only have the power to impact many patients and clinics in need of help, but you can also allow our interpreters to learn and grow from these experiences.