What is Alce su voz and what do we do?
Updated: Aug 28
Maybe you’ve seen our name, Alce su voz, and some of our posts, and you want to know more about what we represent and what we want to do. In this post, I’ll tell you about our roots and our objectives.
Alce su voz ('Speak out') is a community-based organization that started in Wichita, Kansas, in 2020 after a series of conversations among members of our Latino community. The community identified difficulties faced by Spanish-speaking patients and family members, and lack of accessible public health information in languages other than English. We agreed that there was a great need to do something to support the health of Spanish speakers in the U.S., and in Kansas in particular. We want to do this through community education, the development of a qualified bilingual healthcare workforce, and changes in the healthcare system and the process of disseminating public health information.
We support health equity for Spanish speakers and speakers of indigenous languages (for example, K’iche,’ which is spoken in Guatemala and in various communities in Kansas). ‘Health equity’ refers to a state in which everyone has the resources they need to be able to achieve their highest possible level of health, which, of course, requires access to quality interpretation services and/or a healthcare institution in which all of the personnel are bilingual and qualified to use their two languages to provide services. Health equity also requires that the community have a voice that is listened to in the decision-making process of local and state government and health care institutions.
To achieve health equity in the coming years, Alce su voz is committed to continuing to involve the Kansas Latino community in important conversations about access to healthcare services and how to make one’s voice heard in civic processes. We also want to support the state and its healthcare institutions in making changes to ensure that language access services are offered to all the patients who need them. Furthermore, we have a long-term goal that all healthcare interpreters have access to affordable training and that bilingual clinicians have access to training and fair compensation for their services. To achieve all of these objectives, it is important that the whole community work together to promote the services and resources needed to achieve health equity for the Hispanic community in Kansas and beyond.