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Columbus, OH |
April 8, 2016 |
Language Access Network (LAN) is proud to announce that Erika Shell Castro, Director of Interpreting Services, was bestowed the highest honor from the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (NCIHC) at its Annual Meeting on April 1, 2016. Castro received the 2016 NCIHC Language Access Champion award, which honors a person, program or organization whose work has contributed to improving the lives of all people through the promotion of linguistic competence in healthcare.
LAN provides live video medical interpretation to over 500 hospitals throughout the country, breaking communication barriers between healthcare providers and their Limited English Proficient and Deaf and Hard of Hearing patient populations.
Castro’s commitment to language access for all is reflected in her numerous personal, professional, and community activities. “She is unique in that she represents multiple aspects of the field. She runs Interpreter Services, trains interpreters and continues to also interpret to this day,” said NCIHC President Enrica Ardemani. “Erika’s life and career have been dedicated to improving the lives of others. As we celebrate our 10th Annual Membership Meeting with the theme of ‘A Decade of Working towards Social Justice,’ it is more than fitting that we honor Erika this year as Language Access Champion,” she added.
Castro’s initial efforts to promote language access in health care began in 2000 at Ohio Health, where she built the Interpreter Services department from the ground up when the organization recognized that clear communication is key in improving patient outcomes. She managed 24 interpreters, 10 agency contracts and served 4 hospitals as the Language Services Manager, collaborating with area hospitals to create a comprehensive, holistic Language Services program incorporating on-site, telephonic and video interpreters as resources. As a result, the hospital grew into a model program for Language Services.
“We are called by our souls to do this work, never expecting to be recognized or given an award. Receiving this award is truly the honor of my life,” said Castro.
In her current role as Director of Language Services at Language Access Network, Castro has been instrumental in enhancing the quality of services provided via trained and certified medical interpreters in LAN’s 5 call centers where they interpret in nearly 60 different languages over video and more than 250 via audio-only.
“Erika and I met while she was the manager of the Ohio Health interpretation department and was very impressed with her knowledge of interpretation services and how this truly helped patients. Even after 14 years of being in the business, I continue to learn from Erika on a daily basis,” explains Andy Panos, founder and COO of Language Access Network. “I convinced her to join our team and am thankful every day for the contributions she has made to make us the leaders in our industry that we are today.”
Castro’s commitment does not end at the office. Her community work includes being a founding member, and past president and secretary of “Clinica Latina,” a free health clinic for Spanish-speaking patients. She has continued to work with the clinic for the past 16 years. Additionally, Castro has volunteered with the local Girl Scouts, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, her local school district, among many other activities.
About Language Access Network
Founded in 2003, LAN revolutionized the delivery of medical language services. Thirteen years later, LAN is still an industry innovator and provides more than 60,000 clinical interpretation consults to patients and providers each month.
LAN employs its own certified video medical interpreters who are available 24/7/365 to provide the most secure and HIPAA-compliant communication from LAN-operated U.S. language centers. More than 250 languages (including American Sign Language) are offered with nearly 60 languages available in video — the largest video offering in the industry. Through Martti, interpreters have provided more than 17.5 million minutes of medical interpretation to upwards of one million patients.
More than 500 partner hospitals rely on LAN to break down language and cultural barriers empowering medical providers to speak freely, quickly and easily with patients who are Limited English Profificient or Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing. LAN has helped hospitals, clinics and other healthcare venues across the country positively impact quality, patient and provider satisfaction, compliance, patient throughput and financial performance while simultaneously reducing risk, unnecessary testing and wasted time.
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