Interpreting Resilience

Having dealt with disability since childhood, Alessa Ramos uses her skills and experience to help Mount Sinai patients develop their own resilience. In this podcast, she shares her journey.


[00:00:00] Stephen Calabria: From the Mount Sinai Health System in New York City, this is Road to Resilience, a podcast about facing adversity. I'm Stephen Calabria.

[00:00:11] Today on the show, we welcome Alyssa Ramos, a language interpreter at Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital. In her work, Alessa helps patients, families, and staff navigate language barriers that arise in healthcare.

[00:00:23] The journey to get there was difficult, as Alyssa was born with a lifelong medical condition that would normally serve as an obstacle to greater success. Alyssa's chosen course is a case study in resilience for medical professionals and anyone else facing adversity. We're pleased to welcome Alyssa on the show.

[00:00:39] Alessa Ramos, welcome to Road to Resilience.

[00:00:43] Alessa Ramos: Oh, thank you. It's great to be here. Thank you, Stephen.

[00:00:45] Stephen Calabria: If you would, please give us a primer on your background.

[00:00:49] Alessa Ramos: Sure. So I am a medical interpreter and I interpret for Spanish, but I also help coordinate language services for Mount Sinai, South Nassau.

[00:00:58] It's in Oceanside ,on Long Island. So with them, I've been a volunteer since 2016, and then eventually I started working under the language services department in 2020. And then from there, I've been working under the manager of language services and also diversity, equity, and inclusion services.

[00:01:15] We've been managing language-related interpretation services, but also things related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, such as awareness regarding LGBTQ initiatives or disability initiatives or anything else related to social health related care needs.

[00:01:31] Stephen Calabria: Now, having grown up bilingual, what was it like around the house?

[00:01:36] Alessa Ramos: So, growing up bilingual was interesting because you feel like you're living two sides of, I mean, you have two different cultures to dive into. So in school, you know, you engage in your regular curriculum and I would have friends who would only speak mostly English, but then you would have this other area where you could go home and just speak Spanish to your parents and it felt like you just understood each other on a different level.

[00:01:57] My father was bilingual so he can speak English and Spanish but my mother only understands Spanish. Living here for so long now, she can juggle both but when we were younger, she would only stand by Spanish.

[00:02:09] Stephen Calabria: Now, you were born with neuroblastoma. What is that exactly?

[00:02:13] Alessa Ramos: So, neuroblastoma is a cancer. It's a tumor that happens in the spinal cord, and for me, it was in the lower half of my spinal cord. It usually happens in development, like when you're still a baby, when you're still in the womb. So that's when mine hit, and it wasn't really detected until I was born. So it wasn't known that I was ill from when I was still growing in my mother's womb.

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