Pathmaker Interns Earn Grants

Pathmaker Interns Earn Grants

The Palomar Health Pathmaker Internship Program offers high school and college students interested in pursuing careers in healthcare a significant and authentic experience, which allows them to assess whether the healthcare field feels like a satisfying career fit based on their interest and aptitude.
Designed to inspire the future workforce, the Pathmaker Internship Program provides about 750 interns with crucial tools to join or re-join the workforce annually, making it one of the biggest internship programs in California. In a matter of months, Pathmaker interns gain hands-on experience, connect with peers, network with professionals and foster personal development as they prepare to enter the workforce.
In addition, certain Pathmakers perform duties above their typical responsibilities, such as the Pathmaker Medical Interpreters (MIs). This specialized group gives their time and talent to perform in-person interpretations between Palomar Health’s Spanish-speaking patients and healthcare providers.
“These interns go through extensive assessments, training and practice to become an MI,” says Christina Perdomo, RN, Palomar Health’s Manager of Career Development. “They serve a minimum of four hours per week at Palomar Medical Center Escondido, rounding on our Spanish-speaking patients, answering requests for on-the-spot interpretations and attending scheduled interpretations like family consults.”
When the MIs complete their Pathmaker internship, they receive a Certificate of Completion for their time and effort, but the title of Medical Interpreter does not follow them beyond Palomar Health. In short, it does not build the resume.
Rather than let this meaningful work experience fall away, the Pathmaker Management Team joined the Foundation Department to secure a grant from Bank of America to scholarship five MIs to take the National Certification Test, which would certify them as National Healthcare Interpreters.
“This certification opens up many good-paying jobs to its owner, and for those of our MIs who are headed to medical school and/or nursing school, it shows they are serious about providing medical care to underserved populations,” says Perdomo.
The Medical Interpreting leaders created their own application and interview process, and selected five MIs as grant winners. “In addition, all five were given the opportunity to attend a refresher medical interpreting training session in preparation of their national exam,” says Perdomo.
These five MIs received the grant:
Johan Aguilar – future neurosurgeon

“I have seen many instances in which a patient does not receive the best possible care because of a language barrier and I feel honored to be an individual who can help facilitate this obstacle with patients, doctors, social workers, and any other individuals who needs assistance in Spanish and in English. Being a medical interpreter and seeing the importance it has in the medical field has influenced my future plans in the aspect of facilitation.”
Ismael Rodriguez – future physician

“Providing care to medically underserved communities is what motivated me to follow a career in healthcare and this internship has provided that opportunity for me. I have had many experiences in healthcare, but becoming a medical interpreter has allowed me to see the need for Spanish-speaking doctors.”
Jenny Veyna – future physician’s assistant

“Thus far, my MI experience has solidified my future goals of wanting to work in the healthcare industry as a physician assistant. There is a high demand for bilingual healthcare workers, and not just Spanish but other languages as well. Being able to communicate with those who speak a native language allows patients to feel more comfortable, making their hospital experience that much better.”
Guadalupe Ayala – future physician’s assistant

“I would like to create a mobile clinic that goes out to farm fields and provides [farm workers] with physical check-ups and ideas for meals that are healthy, cheap and easily cooked. As a future health professional, the Pathmaker Internship has provided me with so many learning opportunities that I will forever be grateful for.”
Gerardo Pedroza – future physician

“My ultimate goal is to become a physician so that I can help underserved people in Southeast San Diego, which is where I was raised and currently live. The goal itself seems daunting and it seemed that way for quite some time. It was not until I became cognizant that with every dream comes little steps in between now and the finish line. One of those steps along the way includes becoming a certified Medical Interpreter.”