From September 15 to October 15 Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated in the United States. During this time the culture, contributions and history of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America are honored and recognized nationally. The Hispanic population has been an integral part to the prosperity of the U.S. and they have left a lasting mark on the country’s culture and economy.
Today’s spotlight features Victoria Array, MD who has been with UF Health Jacksonville for 33 years. Three as a resident and 30 as a faculty member.
How can language be a barrier when it comes to getting health care services?
Now is much easier because we have translators readily available in the form of an Ipad on wheels. Years ago, it was very difficult for patients that spoke other languages because they could not comprehend fully what the healthcare providers were trying to convey.
How has being a Spanish speaking provider helped you to better serve clients or do your job better in general?
It has been extremely helpful because I have been able to serve families that otherwise would have been “lost in translation”. We live in a community that is highly diverse and being bilingual has given me extra resources to provide better care to my Hispanic families.
How do we overcome the language barriers in order to provide better care?
While we are trying to make changes every day towards better service, many times it can still be difficult. Even when using a translator, the patient and the family still do not get the full picture. Having patience is most important.
What does your Hispanic heritage mean to you?
To me it is quite important because I am very proud of it and want to represent it with honor. I have three children who all are completely bilingual and saw the importance of keeping their identity true to its essence from a very young age. They have benefitted tremendously from being able to speak Spanish in their place of work and they recognize it and thank me for making sure that we only spoke that language at home.