Scholarships help eight individuals attend medical interpretation training

Imagine feeling sick and feverish and waiting to see a nurse or doctor only to discover you can’t communicate with them about your illness because English is not your first language. This dilemma is something thousands of Allen County residents face on a regular basis.

The Allen County Vulnerable Populations Study, conducted recently by the St. Joseph Community Health Foundation, reported that 6.4% of Allen County residents are foreign-born. Nearly 60% of those 23,200 residents identified themselves as speaking English less than “very well,” leaving many residents without the necessary English language skills to communicate with their healthcare provider.

In order to help these residents communicate more effectively with their medical providers, the St. Joe Foundation is working to help train more than 120 medical interpreters speaking 18+ different languages. 

Thanks to scholarships offered by the Foundation, there will soon be eight more medical interpreters in the community who have completed 80 hours of training from the Medical Communication Ambassadors in recognized best practices. Matthew 25 nurse practitioner Marta Wrobleski (pictured above) is one of the eight and she shares, “I learned a great deal and the training is a great asset to the community.” 

Her Matthew 25 co-worker and dental hygienist, Claudia Huezo, also took the training and agreed, “There is a lot of useful new information.”  Andriana Sanchez-Gutierre, with the Language Services Network, reported that the course helped her strengthen her vocabulary and learn new strategies to interpret.

Other soon-to-be graduates of this Spanish-English training are: Ashley Kibijer (Amani Family Services), Magdalena Parnell (Center for Nonviolence), Marbin Molina Guerrero (Matthew 25), Emily Delgado (Goodwill), and Ana Luna Soto (community volunteer). 

Meg Distler, executive director of the St. Joe Foundation, reported that the Foundation has been supporting interpreter training and professional interpreter roles since 2008. “We hear many stories of how these trained interpreters have saved lives helping patients effectively communicate with their care providers to learn how to manage their healthcare issues and treatments. We are honored to support their important work,” says Distler.

Applications will be accepted for another English-Spanish Medical Interpreter online training through the Medical Communication Ambassadors beginning September 3. The course is taught over 16 weeks with weekly mandatory two-hour face-to-face sessions online. Scholarships are available to cover the enrollment fees of $1,000, including all training materials, text and workbook, and language proficiency exam. This course is limited to English-Spanish speakers. The application materials will be available by August 1, 2022 at