Baker Scholar Projects

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It is a seldom-discussed fact that English-speakers in America enjoy a quality of health care that is not necessarily afforded to non-native speakers receiving care at the same facilities. Policy regarding what is required of health institutions in terms of translation services is exceedingly vague, and implementation of this policy is inconsistent. This lack of guidance makes it possible for many patients needing interpreters to fall through the cracks. This project will examine current policy guiding interpretive services in the U.S., and will recommend more specific guidelines that would improve quality of care for limited English proficiency individuals. This project will also include an ethical analysis of the necessity to provide high-quality interpretation services, as they are essential to ensuring that informed consent is obtained.

Though this project focuses largely on the Spanish language, as Spanish is the second-most widely spoken language in the United States besides English, and Spanish-speakers make up over a tenth of the U.S. population, its aim is to lay the foundation for a standard that serves non-English speakers of any other language. If hospitals claim to offer excellence in health care for all, they must uphold this responsibility, which is precisely what this project and resulting policy recommendations seek to ensure.

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