To provide social and medical services to Cleveland residents in need of translation assistance MetroHealth will soon open a Language Access and Communication Center, which will provide medical and social services to Cleveland residents with limited English proficiency, hearing or sight impairments, and illiterate or low- literate native English speakers. Many organizations that provide social and medical services have interpreters available for assistance with language access. However, no other organization has a concierge center for individuals seeking language services. 

 The Center, which is still in its training phase, will be open from 9a – 5p daily and will serve as a full-access concierge that will assist individuals seeking assistance in navigating the many medical and social services offered by MetroHealth. All employees will be bilingual (Spanish-English) interpreters, and telephonic interpreters fluent in over 200 languages will be available. Mari Galindo-DaSilva, a native of Mexico City and longtime Cleveland resident, will lead the Center. Mari sits on the Boards of many non-profit institutions including Global Cleveland, where she serves as the vice chair of the Community Connections Council.

Mari has been at MetroHealth since 2007, and prior to that she was the proprietor of Gala Mexican Supermarket and Luchita’s Express. Previously, Mari was the CEO of the Hispanic Cultural Center for two years, where she worked to improve the cultural and arts literacy of the multinational Hispanic community.

Mari and her team have identified the top six language needs, which are Spanish, Arabic, Cantonese/Mandarin, Russian/Ukranian, and Vietnamese. However, Center employees are “prepared for an anticipated influx of Somalian, Sudanese, and Nepalese refugees”, says Mari, adding that “the mission of the Center is to honor and support the culture of new immigrants, but we will serve everyone”.

In addition to the Language Access and Communication Center, MetroHealth has created numerous programs to serve minorities, especially Cleveland’s large Latino population. Current initiatives include Amigas Unidas, or Friends United, a bilingual volunteer program that employs grassroots peer-to-peer networks to educate Latina women about breast cancer. The program includes free mammograms, breast cancer education sessions (charlas), and volunteer training.

For more information on the Language Access and Communication Center please click here