Honors Program

University Honors

Date of Award


Thesis Professor(s)

Felipe Fiuza

Thesis Professor Department

Literature and Language

Thesis Reader(s)

David Korfhagen


This thesis recounts my personal experience working as a volunteer medical interpreter for the Language and Culture Resource Center at East Tennessee State University. The result of my time spent volunteering as a medical interpreter, shadowing professional medical interpreters, and witnessing patient-provider interactions during interpreted sessions was an inspiration to study medical interpretation further and delve into the challenges faced by patients who require medical interpreters. During my time researching this topic, I found that the United States is severely lacking in Spanish medical interpreters—with some healthcare facilities employing no medical interpreters—even though the size of the Hispanic population is on the rise. I also found that the language and cultural barriers to the Hispanic population receiving quality healthcare are a significant reason why the Hispanic population reports a lower satisfaction with U.S. healthcare. Through years of observation and practice, I developed research questions to help guide one in discovering what areas the Hispanic population is least satisfied with in healthcare. To discern what those areas of the greatest dissatisfaction are exactly, this research study manifests in the creation of a survey designed to improve the quality of healthcare received by the Hispanic population of Northeast Tennessee by identifying some of the principal issues faced by the Hispanic population within the U.S. healthcare system. The goal of this thesis is to highlight these issues as areas of focus for healthcare providers when they care for patients specifically in interpreted appointments.


East Tennessee State University

Document Type

Honors Thesis - Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Copyright by the authors.