By Ricardo A. Torres
Manager, Interpreter Services, Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
If you know where the best coffee in the world is grown, you will know where I was born 30 years ago: Colombia. At only twenty-years-old, my grandparents sent me to the U.S. Even though I was introduced to the U.S. in the comfort of a plane and with a college education in my pocket, I still felt completely overwhelmed by a world so different than mine, yet still so familiar. Recollections from my childhood, like watching American TV “dubbed” in Spanish, offered at least a glimpse of what it would be like to call the U.S. my new home. Conquering the English language became the first clear step for me to take in—what I knew would be—a long process of learning and adjusting to life as “an American.” This grasp of the English language and my immigrant background propelled my desire to become a professional interpreter for courts and hospitals. Being counted among the first professionally recognized interpreters in Ohio has turned into more than simply an honor, it has evolved into the responsibility of ensuring new immigrants and their families the same enjoyment, benefits and rights I assumed when I moved to the U.S. ten years ago.
By Eloiza Domingo-Snyder
Human Resources Specialist, Office of Diversity & Inclusion, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
In 1974, my parents moved to the U.S. from the Philippines to give their not-yet-born children the quintessential “American dream.”
Both of them had been practicing physicians in Manila—my mom in internal medicine, my dad in surgery—before they decided to leave their jobs and family behind. This choice to leave one family for the one they were about to have is the beginning of my life as a first-generation Filipina-American. Because my parents raised my siblings and I as if we were in the Philippines, and not in a two-room apartment in Indianapolis, my adolescence and young adulthood were, consequently, experiments in all things American: fast food, dyed hair, tanning, dating, talking on the phone, and practically everything else that Filipino kids weren’t supposed to do. After years of rejecting my own culture and the background I inherited, I found myself drawn to careers within the field of diversity and inclusion, and now specifically, in culturally competent healthcare. The things my parents sacrificed and the choices they made are the figurative “shoulders” I stand on, which I’m proud to say have helped achieve their hope for their kids: living the American Dream.