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    Crossing Language Barriers



    Story by Spc. Alyssa Lisenbe 

    Delaware National Guard Public Affairs

    DOVER, Del. -- According to the U.S. Census Bureau, almost 11% of Dover’s population speaks a language other than English at home. With that in mind, the language barrier between those needing care and those giving care becomes an issue.

    With the help of more than 25 military translators from around the country bridge that gap.

    The 2021 Central Delaware Partnership for Hope Innovative Readiness Training provides no-cost health care to a large, underserved community in Dover, Aug. 1-9, 2021. The joint medical-training mission brings together Army, Marine, Navy and Air Force Guard and Reserve units from throughout the country to produce mission ready forces, civil-military partnerships, and stronger communities.

    Aside from the IRT mission, bilingual service members now fill in as translators for the community in order to overcome the language barriers between them and their patients. Among the joint-force of service members participating, Spanish, Creole, Russion, French, and Laos are among the languages spoken.

    “It has been a really good experience to help them and get them the care that they need,” said Pfc. Corban Rowley a combat medic with the Wyoming Army National Guard Medical Detachment who has been filling in as a Spanish translator for South Dover Elementary School. “It really puts a meaning behind this job title.”

    So far the mission has taken care of more than 8,000 people no matter their language or ethnicity.

    “I have been able to assist one Haitian family when they first came in,” said Staff Sgt. Sabrina Bernard a behavioral health technician with the 413th Aeromedical Staging Squadron in Georgia.

    Bernard added, the family was able to speak little to no English.

    “I understand Creole 100% so I was able to translate the needs, the wants and the concerns to the providers,” Bernard said.

    It is important to translate medical needs accurately and coherently in order to give the correct care to the patient.

    “My second language is Laos so it's been nice being able to help out in the community especially for people in my ethnicity who don’t know another language,” said Senior Airman Elizabeth Soisouvanh working in Medical Logistics for the 913 Airlift Group in Arkansas.

    “They don't know how to speak the language and they are just lost," Rowley added with his experience observing Spanish-speaking people coming through who didn’t have insurance.

    Dover holds a population of about 38,000, with 25% of the population below the poverty line. One goal of the mission is to get patients continued care even after the mission’s end.

    “We have a section where you can figure out how to further your health care after this mission,” said Spc. Meredith Smith a medic with the Delaware Army National Guard Medical Readiness Detachment.

    A fact echoed by Lt. Col. Susan Holt, the officer in charge of Optometry in North Dover Elementary from the 476th Fighter Group in Georgia.
    “For me and my patients the best thing that I like to do is educate,” Holt said. “These missions get you out to different populations that are needy. Meeting people that are Amish, Creole, and Spanish is great as well as meeting new people in the military.”

    The diverse cultures within the military deployed to Dover have been helpful in meeting the community's needs.

    “It is a great experience to be able to be of help to my fellow Delawareans,” said Spc. Rene Sakang a medic for the Delaware Army National Guard Medical Detachment who has been filling in as a French translator. “It is a wonderful thing for us to come together and blend our efforts in support of our local communities.”



    Date Taken: 08.08.2021
    Date Posted: 08.08.2021 16:25
    Story ID: 402573
    Location: DOVER, DE, US 

    Web Views: 32
    Downloads: 1