BHRS Bids Farewell to Alejandra Siroka and Wishes Success On Her Next Chapter
On Thursday, April 27th, 2023, Behavioral Health and Recovery Services (BHRS)hosted the all-staff mandatory Working Effectively with Limited English Proficient Clients & Interpreters in the Behavioral Health Setting training in person for the first time in 3 years! This learning opportunity is integral in engaging workforce members in the current utilization, needs, and importance of interpretation services offered by BHRS. Our language access services assist in reducing the risk of misunderstanding and misdiagnosis and supporting the building of a strong therapeutic alliance with those we serve.
This training was also the last training facilitated by our longtime partner and collaborator Alejandra Siroka of Language Alchemy. Alejandra has worked with BHRS since 2009 to advance language access services by supporting our staff in working with diverse clients and utilizing interpretation services appropriately with a focus on cultural humility. Her work has been essential in our advancement of Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS), shaping our BHRS culture to always strive for more equitable services and practices. In addition to providing our staff with practical tools, scenarios, and a historical perspective on the use of interpreters, Alejandra helped us to look deeper into the meaning of culture and how it shapes our communication styles and thought patterns. Thanks to her collaboration with the BHRS Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE), this training was continuously tailored and focused on the specific needs and demographics of San Mateo County. Additionally, in 2018, she supported ODE with the creation of training videos that are the first of their kind nationally and exemplify the use of interpreters specifically in behavioral health settings. While we’re incredibly sad to lose Alejandra as a facilitator, we’re so excited for the next chapter in her journey. Alejandra is shifting to support broader communication needs via hosting a podcast and working on a book that will be published in 2024 focused on compassionate communication!
For BHRS, this training will continue to be offered twice a year and required as part of our cultural competence trainings. Our next training is expected to be offered in Fall 2023; more information will be shared as specifics are confirmed.
Please join us in wishing her much success in her future endeavors!
Written by Frances Lobos, Community Health Planner at BHRS Office of Diversity & Equity