ATISDA Blog (Association of Translators and Interpreters in the San Diego Area)

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How I joined ATISDA, a guest blog by Priya Kalyan-Masih

Learn about the winding road that led ATISDA member Priya Kalyan-Masih to join our group, in her own words below. Want to hear more from Priya and make a vision board to kick off 2020? Join us at our next event!

The end of March this year will mark the two year anniversary of my car accident. I was rear ended by a semi truck on the freeway. It was truly a miracle that I walked away with only a backache and the car was totaled.

I was coming back from a hospital in the desert after being honored for my volunteer work there over the last two years. I was on a service high for being recognized and it quickly halted.

I went through rehab for a month and then resumed my volunteering duties in the desert. But when I approached the point in the drive where I was hit a month prior, I was having severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I knew that I couldn’t put myself through that anxiety every week.

I made a decision. It was time to find something else closer to where I now lived in San Diego. I thought about my passions and it was clear: medicine, serving the community and all things Spanish (culture, food, language). My happiest days volunteering at the hospital were when I would get to speak Spanish to a patient, even if it was for 20 minutes over a four-hour period. I had just come back from a trip to Puerto Vallarta where I did my internado as a doctor and all the feelings of why I studied there rushed over me. I needed more of that, service in medicine and Spanish.

Google is truly a magical tool. I literally put in “Spanish medical interpreter San Diego” and came across Champions for Health. I was amazed at how easy and quickly I found the organization and their mission completely aligned with mine. Providing medical care to those that don’t have access to healthcare and providing medical interpretation for their appointments. Say what?! I see you, God!

I updated my CV, emailed it in and found myself interviewing the next day at Champions for Health. From there on, I went all in. Through Champions for Health, I connected with ATISDA and attended their workshop in June 2017. I found this whole network of translators and interpreters in the area that I had no idea were there. Through this group, I connected with Pensadores. This is a group of Spanish speaking interpreters and translators that meet monthly to discuss all kinds of topics in Spanish. We even go through lexicon and Spanish words. Having learned Spanish since 6th grade and literally loving my grammar courses, I was on such a learning high after my first Pensadores meeting.  I could not believe that there was a group of people who loved to discuss Spanish right in my backyard.

Through these overlapping experiences, I have rediscovered my why and found my way in a niche market that I craved but didn’t know existed or how to find. I am combining my MD degree from Mexico, fluency of Spanish and love of community outreach all into one. I’m able to bridge the gap in a population that I love that is often ignored in today’s society.

It’s clear to me now, almost two years later, that my car accident was the BEST thing that happened to me.

Priya Kalyan-Masih was born and raised in New York where her interests in Spanish and medicine began.  In high school, she volunteered at a local prenatal clinic and was able to utilize her Spanish skills with the patients that were of Hispanic background. These experiences and interests were further pursued at Trinity College Hartford, Connecticut, where she received her BA in Spanish with a pre-med track.

Upon graduation, she completed her post baccalaureate research in Puerto Rico in spinal cord injury and became fluent in spoken Spanish. After the year of research, she attended medical school in Guadalajara, Mexico, and completed a one-year internship program in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. After completing her MD in Mexico, she got married and moved to California where she worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Figneurolab™ at Loma Linda University School of Medicine. There, she worked on translational research focused to determine the interplay between diet, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).

She is now studying for her board exams in order to practice in the US along with providing Spanish interpreting and translating services and working as a wellness coach.



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