My name is Lynda Arostegui and I am a sophomore at American University, majoring in Biology. This semester I have been taking Multicultural Health, and I decided to add the optional credit with CSLP. At the end of one of our first classes, my professor, Dr. Free, asked if there were any Spanish-speakers in our class. I stayed after with a classmate and she told us if we were interested, we could complete the credit by working with La Clínica del Pueblo and having a final presentation in class, that would require us to translate.
La Clínica del Pueblo is an amazing health clinic that provides culturally competent care to the Latino and immigrant areas of the DMV area. They strive to provide quality, equal care to all their patients, by accommodating to the economic ability of each. La Clínica del Pueblo works to limit health disparities, a central topic in my Multicultural Health class. Health disparities may be due to a range of reasons, and this clinic works to target the reasons that stem from cultural barriers. La Clínica is made up by staff and countless volunteers that are bilingual and culturally aware. Their Board of Directors even includes patients, one of which I had the opportunity to know better.
Carlos Gutierrez is an immigrant from Peru. When he first came to the United States he temporarily settled in Miami, Florida, but eventually relocated to Washington, DC. In Peru, Mr. Gutierrez was very involved with the less fortunate communities. He worked to reform and develop healthcare for the local people. He was given the opportunity to continue this, when he crossed paths with La Clínica, due to his own needs. Mr. Gutierrez is a diabetic, and realized he needed more constant care. His first thought was that he needed someone who spoke his language and would understand him and his background. Luckily for him, Mr. Gutierrez had previously heard about La Clínica.
Blown away by their customer service, Mr. Gutierrez requested to speak to the person in charge. To his surprise, he was asked if he would accept a position on the Board of Directors. Mr. Gutierrez originally walked in to pay a compliment, since the workers at the front desk remembered him by name, despite the weeks that passed between visits, but walked out with an offer. He accepted and today is still a member, who only further appreciates what La Clínica del Pueblo does for his community, now that he has seen the logistics that are behind it.
Carlos shared his story with us, my classmate, Beverly, and myself, so we could share it with the rest of our class. A couple weeks ago he came in, and Beverly and I translated for him to the rest of the class. Mr. Gutierrez speaks English well, but it is not perfect, and he felt he would best express himself in his native tongue. Not to mention, we wanted to kind of reverse the roles. Mr. Gutierrez provided a lot of insight for our class, and I am glad I had the opportunity to get to know him, someone who is passionate about helping his community and is striving to improve healthcare for the Latino community, something I strive to do.