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Your faculty and staff news since 1965
March 14, 2005
Volume 40, Number 8

HSC makes history translating Patient Bill of Rights


By Angela Heisel

UNM has made American medical history by translating the Patient Bill of Rights into the Navajo language. The bill outlines a patient’s rights and responsibilities when they are admitted to UNM Hospital.

UNM Health Sciences Center Navajo Interpreter and Translator Lee Rodgers recently translated the bill into Navajo because no such document had been produced. According to the Indian Health Service, a majority of Navajos do not read Navajo because it is a relatively young written language.

Rodgers believed it important that the increasing numbers who do read the language be represented. She had one year to complete this task but finished in two months.

She obtained expert help from Dr. Robert Young, UNM professor emeritus of linguistics and author of the Navajo Colloquial Dictionary. Ester Yazzie-Lewis from the Federal Court System edited the document.

HSC Chief Executive Officer Steve McKernan is proud of the hospital’s unprecedented work.

“The translation of the Patient Bill of Rights into the Navajo language is another example of the Health Sciences Center being at the forefront of patient care,” he said.

Rodgers presented framed copies of the translated Patient Bill of Rights to McKernan and Patricia Franceschini, former supervisor of the UNMH Interpreter Language Services Program at the Clinical Operations Board Meeting.

Rodgers was recognized for her commitment to representing people of the Navajo Nation and presented with a plaque.