Effective communication and education are essential to quality patient care. For a patient population as culturally diverse as Brigham and Women’s Hospital’s, effective provider communication demands a robust Interpreter Services program. Last year, the Brigham Interpreter Services team, one of Boston’s largest, assisted upwards of 90,000 patients and families with language barriers and hearing impairments across inpatient and ambulatory care.

“Our interpreters are central members of the patient care team and collaborate with nurses, physicians, therapists, nutritionists, chaplains, managers and many others by bringing diverging cultures together through interpretation for patients and their families,” says Leo F. Buckley Jr., executive director of Business Operations in Patient Care Services.

Across 40 languages, including American Sign Language (ASL), Cantonese, Cape Verdean, French, Haitian Creole, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Somali and Spanish, the team provides direct translation for patients and families, accurately relaying the complexities and sensitivities of their conditions and treatments so patients can play an active role in their own care. In addition, the team works with departments across the Brigham to provide translation for various education campaigns, trainings, and written materials.

Ana Hoffman, a Spanish-language interpreter who works primarily in the Braunwald Tower, has been at the Brigham for 10 years. “There is no work more rewarding than to convey different languages into one,” she says. “I am grateful to collaborate with our providers to help enhance the world-class care patients receive here at the Brigham.”

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