Driscoll’s CEO is hospital’s ‘Hero’

  • March 7, 2014

 March 7, 2014
By Mike Hornick

SALINAS, Calif. — Natividad Medical Foundation honored Driscoll’s chairman and chief executive officer Miles Reiter with its Hero Award for his company’s support of language interpretation and related services at the Salinas hospital.

Driscoll’s donated $107,700, the bulk of it going to launch Indigenous Interpreting+, which provides interpreters for patients who speak Mixteco, Zapotec, Triqui and other languages. They’re spoken by Salinas Valley farmworkers from the Mexican states of Oaxaca, Guerrero and Puebla.

The Driscoll’s money was part of $350,000 given by the Agricultural Leadership Council. John D’Arrigo, president of D’Arrigo Bros. Co. of California — who founded the council in 2010 — presented the check at a March 6 ceremony. Since 2010, $1,17 million has been donated by a variety of Salinas Valley grower-shippers and agricultural businesses.

Indigenous Interpreting+ will be a revenue source for Natividad Medical Center as Stanford Hospital, the Mayo Clinic and others access interpreters via Internet, said Linda Ford, president and chief executive officer of Natividad Medical Foundation.

The Agricultural Leadership Council has a history of funding medical equipment. That expanded language services could become part of the offering — and potentially a profit maker for the hospital — was not part of the original plan, D’Arrigo said.

“That was never even thought of in the very beginning,” he said, “until we really discovered this need out there. Doctors could not even talk to the patients. So we are giving the doctors and the nurses, we feel, the best medical equipment, and we’re also helping them to communicate as they have never before been able to.”

“Indigenous interpreting really resonates with us in our business, which is berries,” Reiter said. “Everybody’s involved in getting clamshell berries into a person’s home. It’s a team effort in the field, but it needs to be a team effort in the community. Indigenous interpretation really created a vehicle for us to be a more unified people.

“It’s really pretty special when you have a big idea and the reality exceeds it,” he said. “That’s happened here.”

In the 2010 U.S. census, 685,000 identified themselves as Latinos of indigenous origin — up 68% since 2000. More than 27,000 live on California’s Central Coast, Ford said. Besides California, there are indigenous Mexican populations in Texas, New York, Arizona, Colorado and Illinois.