The message below is on behalf of the Equal Access Clinic Network Language Services and Spanish Night Coordinators: Sebastian Cuitiva, Hassan Perrera and Dinia Salmeron.
Equal Access Clinic Network Director of Spanish Language Services
Equal Access Clinic Officer and Spanish Night Coordinator
Equal Access Clinic Network Language Services Coordinator
The mission of Equal Access Clinic Network (EACN) is to provide quality health care for all. We serve a diverse patient population, with people from different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. We strive to decrease the health care gaps affecting our community by providing culturally competent care, especially regarding language barriers.
Our network has adapted Cyracom interpretation services to facilitate communication with patients with limited English proficiency. At our different clinic sites, we may see patients that speak Spanish, Portuguese, Bengali, and many other languages. This service has helped us serve more patients in the community, increase their access to care, and develop better relationships with patients. This has also helped patients gain greater autonomy over their healthcare decisions and be more involved in their care, despite existing language barriers with the clinical team.
Furthermore, with a growing Hispanic community in Alachua county, EACN has strived to reduce the social barriers that our Spanish-speaking patients most often encounter when trying to access health care. With this idea in mind, an official Spanish Specialty clinic was created to highlight and celebrate the profound diversity of so many Hispanic/Latinx patients that reside in our community. During these clinics, patients are welcomed by undergraduate students from the University of Florida, who are able to speak in their native tongue.
Similarly, the majority of our clinical staff, including volunteer physicians and medical students are also fluent in Spanish. While in the clinic, patients are not only seen for their medical complaints, but are also connected with community resources that would help them with other social barriers they encounter on a daily basis, including social work, counseling, and legal services. Furthermore, EACN has also become the perfect way of connecting with our Hispanic patients to include them in groundbreaking research studies that are specifically geared towards the betterment of this specific patient population – both clinical-based studies and projects focused on addressing relevant social determinants of health.
While caring for the patients in the community, we have developed a mutualistic relationship. We help meet their health-related and social needs and at the same time they teach us the importance of providing culturally competent care and advocating for equitable health care. We are proud to serve such a strong and vibrant community and look forward to continuing to expand our reach.