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Van Tran at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center

Van Tran, '16

Bridging the gap between patient and provider

Not many people can say they've had the chance to meet a survivor of human trafficking and domestic violence. I still remember the day the paramedics brought Quy* into the emergency room. Her head was tender from where it been bashed, the skin around one eye an angry red that slowly bruised purple. But what I remember most is the blank look in her eyes as the staff at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC) tried to figure out what language she spoke.

Our hospital doesn't have in-house interpreters on weekend or overnight shifts. That's where I come in as a volunteer interpreter from SCOPE, a hospital nonprofit that connects Stanford students with opportunities for public service. On some days, I'm the only Vietnamese speaker in the emergency department. By bridging linguistic and cultural barriers, I facilitate healthcare delivery for patients like Quy.

In my three years with SCOPE, I have been blessed with the opportunity to share in the experience of SCVMC patients, many of whom come from underserved communities. In the process of working with these patients to convey their story, I discover new facets of my cultural heritage and emerge reinvigorated in my dedication to public service.

*Alias used to protect patient's privacy.

Van Tran, '16, majored in English.
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