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4-26-16 Translators Give Refugee/Immigrant Populations at “Pathway to Health LA” a Voice
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By Kimberly Luste Maran
 

 
Your Best Pathway to Health volunteers register in the Los Angeles Convention Center. Photo by Tanya Musgrave  



It’s Tuesday afternoon at the Los Angeles Convention Center (Calif.). More than 4000 volunteers, including health professionals and other service-minded Adventists, are streaming in to get registration packets and assignments for the April 27-29 mega-clinic known as Your Best Pathway to Health LA. Tables and medical equipment are being set up in preparation for the 10,000-plus crowd of area residents expected to receive free medical treatment. Before the sun rises tomorrow, lines of people are expected to form outside the convention center for the 7 a.m. start of the free clinic. And many will be able to communicate with the volunteer medical personnel in their own language.

In a first for the Adventist Church in North America (NAD), translation service will be provided at the mega-clinic for 14 different language groups (see list below) largely from immigrant and refugee populations.
 
Plans to reach these language groups developed quickly during March meetings where the local coordinator, Vinh Nguyen, pastor of the El Monte Vietnamese Church in Los Angeles, shared the importance of reaching out to people groups often on the fringe. “It is vital that we reach out to every language, tribe, tongue and people,” says Vinh, citing the statistics of the combined 1 million-plus population of Asian-Pacific Islanders just in Los Angeles as one example. “We can do this work, remembering Ellen White’s words: ‘The medical missionary work is the right hand of the gospel’ (Testimonies For the Church, vol. 7, p. 59). Pathway to Health is a powerful way we can reach people through the health message.” Vinh and his wife, Cynthia, an accountant at the Adventist Media Center in Riverside, have taken the lead on this translation initiative.
 
The refugee/immigrant language group initiative received financial support from the NAD Ministerial Department and the NAD Refugee and Immigrant Adventist Ministries. The majority of the funds went toward advertising city-wide. “We advertised we’d be able to help these populations receive needed medical care for free,” says Cynthia. “We are praying for a good response, and praying that we have the translators we need.”
 
Several young adult El Monte church members have assisted in planning and organizing the Pathway to Health event, as well as worked on the language group initiative. Jessica Trihn helped with the interpreter/coordinator workflow, registration, and Patients Assistance and Transfer (PATS). Daniel Quach organized/analyzed data on how many volunteers from each language group had registered, and developed an APP for the event (Your Best Pathway to Health). Quach and Moon Uyen Nguyen prepared and collected advertising/media kits for each language group, and Kristi Huynh shared marketing strategies.

 
Pastor Dan Jackson, president of the church in North America, his wife Donna Jackson, and ministry partners Pastor Vinh and Cynthia Nguyen pose with children from the El Monte Vietnamese Church in Los Angeles, Calif., after the March translation planning meeting.
Photo supplied by Hien Tran


 
 

Advertising in the Los Angeles area included newspaper ads, radio slots, TV ads, Vietnamese press conferences, and weekly flyer distribution to the community. “This is a great opportunity to share the love of Jesus Christ,” adds Vinh. “As for the Vietnamese language, I started working with several newspaper and radio announcements weeks ago. A few days ago I was in the television studio and recorded several segments to promote Pathway to Health, these aired through the month of April.”
 
“We hope to provide refugee and immigrant population language translation support to patients and participants at the event,” adds Vinh. “But more than provide translation, we hope to assist with follow up lab results and visitation — and to create friendships.”
 
Language Groups
Mandarin
Cantonese
Tagalog
Korean
Vietnamese
Cambodian
Indonesian
Japanese
Samoan
Tongan
Thai
Laotian
Russian
Armenian
 
UPDATE: During the first few hours of the mega clinic on Apr. 27, Vinh Nguyen reports that at least 100 patients needing Vietnamese translation were helped; and up to 20 language groups, including Hmong, had translators available.

North American Division of Seventh-day Adventists
12501 Old Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20904-6600 USA
Telephone: 301-680-6400
Fax: 301-680-6464
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