A partnership between Missouri Southern State University and the Joplin Community Clinic in Joplin is helping foreign language students to get real-world experience and Spanish-speaking people in the area to get effective health care.
Three students from Missouri Southern’s modern languages department are currently working as interns at the clinic, which provides health care services to people without insurance. The students work as translators, assisting Spanish-speaking patients with understanding information about medications, treatment and other health care needs.
The Community Clinic began pursuing the agreement last year when Stephanie Brady was hired as its executive director. Brady estimates 5 to 10 percent of the patients in the eight-county area the clinic serves speak only Spanish.
“The patients that we were seeing, we were just doing the best we could, but we weren’t really effectively communicating with them about what their health care needs were,” she said. “We want to make sure that they understand what their health care issues are and are getting that information accurately, in their own native language. And what’s great is, the three Spanish-language interpreters we have right now are all native speakers. So they all come from backgrounds of speaking Spanish in their own homes and are really, really…