Joana Ramos, MSW is a health policy consultant, and a founding member of the Washington State Coalition for Language Access. She is the immediate Past President of the WASCLA Board of Directors and Chair of the Healthcare Committee. Her background spans direct practice and policy work in health and human services, education, child welfare, patient advocacy, medical interpreting, and nonprofit organizations. Joana has led WASCLA initiatives including a multi-year campaign to preserve interpreter services for Washington’s Medicaid program; the first collaboration on language access in pharmacies; the Tools for Health project which created multilingual consumer materials and provider education on language access rights; equity efforts for state implementation of the Affordable Care Act; curriculum development and creation of a State Office of Equity with language access coordination. Joana is a member of the Language Access Research for Community Health (LARCH) group, the Community Advisory Board for the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, the King County Immigrant & Refugee COVID-19 Advisory Group., and the Eligibility & Enrollment Workgroup for state health agencies. Her language justice policy work encompasses health equity, emergency services, education, public agency language services, interpreter training, immigrant rights, and addressing harmful governmental proposals and policies. Joana is a graduate of Boston University and the University of Washington School of Social Work.
Too many hospitals and clinics buck legal requirements to serve patients in their languages. The failure to communicate can have deadly consequences.