Volunteer Spotlight: Dennis Zheng, Chinese Translator

dennis picMost people who encounter us are surprised when they hear that AMPHS is a completely volunteer-run organization, and we thank our outstanding volunteers for their time, effort and, most of all, their unwavering devotion to our mission. For this issue of the newsletter, we decided to interview one of our volunteers, Dennis Zheng. He has been volunteering as a Chinese translator since November 2013, and has been an invaluable asset to AMPHS.

“I believe that AMPHS is a trusted resource that the community of Sunset Park relies on for their health concerns and questions.”

What do you do outside of AMPHS?

I work for Healthfirst, an organization that provides free and low-cost health insurance plans to eligible adults, children, families, and seniors living in New York State, as a field interpreter. I travel within the five boroughs to interpret for senior members in their semi-annual reassessments. The reassessment is important for them to make sure that their health care service is up to date and appropriate to their needs. Under the managed long-term care program, I have worked closely with the elderly, Chinese-speaking population of NYC. My role is to enable members to speak up for their needs and receive the quality of care they deserve.

Why did you choose to volunteer with AMPHS?

After I started working in the healthcare field, I felt like I was put in the frontline interacting with members. I understood that accessing healthcare is already hard, and the language barrier makes it even harder. The majority of the elderly population is uneducated, and many suffer from forgetfulness. Elderly people who live on their own are vulnerable, and unable to speak up for themselves. I know there is a great need in the Chinese community to receive the most basic and appropriate health care, so I wanted to use my language skills to fill in the gap. AMPHS’ values, vision, and mission attracted me to be a part of their team and their work. I do believe that AMPHS is a trusted resource that the community of Sunset Park relies on for their health concerns and questions.

Could you share a story with a community member that stands out in your memory?

I remember one particular community member whom I never met in person, but spoke to many times over the phone. He was calling to find out more about our vision assistance program, and I helped him apply for prescription lens. Because of his long working hours, he couldn’t visit AMPHS’ open house screening. Sheila Raj, AMPHS’ social worker, and I tried to schedule a trip to the optician for him, but we couldn’t coordinate it. A few weeks passed and I was upset because it seemed as though he would never have a chance to receive an eye exam or get glasses. To my surprise, he showed up on a Saturday at the AMPHS offices and finally got the care he deserved. I was very touched to see AMPHS’s direct impact on community members.

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