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  • Feb 25, 2019

Mother strives to fulfill her daughter's Olympic dreams

Meet CHA medical interpreter Eliana Izzo.

The alarm buzzes at 10:30 p.m. late Monday evening and Eliana quickly moves out of bed and prepares for her next shift of the day. Eliana runs on around four hours of sleep each night during the workweek in order to support her children and their budding dreams. One of her teenagers is poised to enter the next Winter Olympic ice skating competition.

Eliana kisses her daughter Gabriella on the forehead and greets her son David as he completes his homework spread out across the kitchen table. They are both proud of their mother and help Eliana put on her warm winter coat. She gathers her breakfast and lunch for the coming day and heads out into the frigid New England night.

She is starting her second job ( 11 p.m. - 7 a.m.), an overnight shift as a Spanish/Portuguese Medical Interpreter at CHA Cambridge Hospital. Earlier, she worked from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. as an Interpreter at Franciscan Children's Hospital in Boston. Eliana courageously maintains this schedule of 16-hour days, Monday through Friday.

"It took me a while to get used to the schedule but I do it all for Gabriella and David. Gabriella recently received an acceptance letter from Harvard University and David is at Bentley University studying Economics and Finance," comments Eliana. "I could not be more proud of them and work each day to make sure their dreams can come true."

Her daughter, Gabriella, recently won the gold medal at the US Figure Skating 2019 Junior Ladies Championship in Detroit, Michigan. Her win is a culmination of seven years of Gabriella's hard work and dedication and validates the tough choices made along the way making the personal and family sacrifices all the more worthwhile.

Gabriella will soon be competing in the Senior Ladies Championship and has dreams of Olympic Gold in three years. The next Winter Olympics is slated for 2022 in Beijing, China. Gabriella has competed abroad in the Netherlands, Thailand, and Slovenia.

Eliana is originally from Brazil and learned both Spanish and Portuguese as a child. She completed her medical interpreter training at Pontificia Universidade Catolica and immigrated to the United States in 1994. After living in California, Virgina, Washington D.C., and Florida, she finally arrived in Boston in 2011 and completed an Interpreter Certificate Program at Boston University. Interpreting is a broad field, encompassing roles in education, government, social services and private industry.

"During my overnight shift at CHA, I witness moments of pure joy and also see the daily struggle of some of our most vulnerable patients. One minute, I am holding a mother's hand as she prepares to deliver a baby," noted Eliana. "The next hour, or day, I provide comfort and aid a CHA provider communicating with an immigrant family whose child is facing mental illness for the first time.

"I am very thankful to CHA and the Multicultural Affairs & Patient Services family for supporting and embracing my family's journey," commented Eliana. She and other interpreters like Eliana at CHA, act as a linkage between patients who do not speak English and the providers giving care. Interpreters meet patients where they are in that moment and help to voice their needs in hospital, primary care and specialty clinics across CHA. In 2018, CHA finished the year with a record 314,569 completed interpretations. 

This articles provide general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this article, or through linkages to other sites, is not a substitute for medical or professional care, and you should not use the information in place of a visit, call consultation or the advice of your physician or other healthcare provider.

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