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We are a nonprofit fighting language barriers in healthcare.
Mission
AALB is an Illinois-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (EIN: 83-3016421) aiming to improve the health of patients with limited English proficiency. We do this by training professional medical interpreters, providing interpreter services to healthcare organizations, and lobbying for policy reform. We envision a future where language services are seamlessly and freely available across the healthcare system.

Our Work

We train professional medical interpreters.

There's a severe shortage of medical interpreters, even though they're mandated by law and proven to improve patient care. AALB aims to fill this gap through its Medical Interpreter Training Program, which serves as the foundational qualification to interpret professionally in healthcare settings across the United States. Hundreds of students have graduated from our our training course & earned continuing education credits with AALB Academy.

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We have a team of experienced and award-winning course instructors.

AALB's incredible team of course instructors have a passion for medical interpretation. They have earned NBCMI and CCHI certificates, presented at international conferences, run medical interpreter support groups, taught in universities, and have extensive professional experience in interpreting for patients.

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Our program is recognized across the country.

Graduates who earn AALB's Certificate of Training can begin working as medical interpreters in healthcare settings across the United States. In addition, the AALB Certificate of Training qualifies graduates sit for the CCHI & NBCMI medical interpreter certification exams, which are the highest national qualifications medical interpreters can obtain.

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We provide free medical interpretation services to our partners.

Graduates of AALB's Medical Interpreter Training Program can chose to volunteer their time to our partner nonprofit healthcare institutions in need of medical interpreters. In this manner, we have offered medical interpreter services pro bono to free clinics across the country.

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We envision a world without language barriers in healthcare.

Through our work & platforms, we promote awareness to patients and care providers about the role of interpreters in healthcare settings, as well as the legal obligations of medical facilities to provide qualified, professional interpreters to all limited English proficiency, deaf, or hard of hearing patients.

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Patients with limited English proficiency
need your voice.

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Team

Kevin Thakkar

Co-Founder,
Executive Director & Board Chairman

Kevin Thakkar is AALB's Co-founder, Executive Director, and Board Chairman. Kevin is a professional Gujarati medical interpreter and has worked for hospitals throughout the Chicagoland area. He is currently pursuing his Masters of Public Health at Emory University, specializing in Health Policy and Management.

Hetvi Patel

Co-Founder &
Board Member

Hetvi Patel is AALB's Co-founder and Member of the Board. Hetvi is a professional Gujarati and Hindi medical interpreter who has worked for hospitals throughout the Chicagoland area. She is currently a medical student at the University of Illinois College of Medicine.

Kaveri Shah

Co-Founder &
Board Member

Kaveri Shah is AALB's Co-founder and Member of the Board. Kaveri is a business manager at a biomedical lab at the University of Illinois Hospital.

Trix Bruce

Advisor

Trix Bruce is a deaf poet and actress. Her performances draw heavily on her life experiences. Trix’s one-woman show has been a long-standing success. Audiences are captivated by Trix’s sign artistry, sheer elegance and irresistible, smile-sparking humor. Trix’s performances and presentations always showcase her skills as an outstanding communicator. Trix’s main area of study has been in American Sign Language (ASL) Linguistics with a focus on ASL Performance. She is an approved sponsor for the Registry Interpreter for the Deaf (RID) Certificate Maintenance Program, and has developed a popular website, www.trixbruce.com. Trix provides professional development for sign language interpreters, including Interpreting Evaluations and Interpreting Enhancement, and up-to-date information on American Sign Language across America.

Jesse Nguyen

Advisor

Jesse Nguyen is a is a Certified Medical Interpreter (Hub-CMI) fluent in English, Vietnamese, and French. She also has working proficiency in Portuguese. She has over 5 years of professional experience in various industries. Her clients range from national and international organizations, such as Piaggio Vietnam, Arthrex Singapore, Vietnam Airlines, Canadian Executive Service Organization, Adidas Vietnam, Boston Consulting Group, and more. Her diverse interpreting experiences have helped to enhance AALB's curriculum and educational resources. With her deep understanding of Vietnamese society and markets, Jesse also serves to represent  AALB's future projects in Vietnam. If you have any questions regarding this project, please contact her: jesse@americansalb.org. For more information about Jesse, please visit her professional page: www.impactrans.com.

Dr. Vu "Henry" Nguyen, M.D.

Advisor

Vu "Henry" Ngyuen, M.D., was born and raised for the first sixteen years of his life in Vietnam. He came to the U.S. with his mother and sister to reunify with the rest of his extended family in 2008. Dr. Nguyen earned his Doctor of Medicine degree (M.D.) from Tulane University School of Medicine in May, 2021. Dr. Nguyen is a national CoreCHI certified medical interpreter. For over 4 years, he has volunteered in his capacity as medical trainee as well as a medical interpreter for clinics serving vulnerable patients in New Orleans, including the homeless, impoverished, and Vietnamese immigrant populations.

Dr. Nicole Phan Truong, M.D.

Advisor

Nicole Phan Truong, M.D., is a physician specializing in obstetrics & gynecology. She has 5 years of experience working in Gia Dinh Hospital, a Class I General Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. She is passionate about women's reproductive health and caring for pregnant patients. Dr. Truong performs a wide range of procedures, including sexual health and cancer screening, pregnancy-related tests, as well as obstetric surgeries. and she is a dual-certified with Hub-CMI and CCHI. She currently lives in the United States and works as a pro bono translator for non-governmental organizations, including Translators Without Borders.

Anthony J. Valle

Advisor

Tony Valle has a passion for community service and has launched several organizations to address challenging societal problems. After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in English from California State University San Marcos, Tony enjoyed a successful career in pharmaceutical sales, earning numerous sales awards for his performance. In that role, Tony launched & led the San Gabriel Valley Pharmaceutical Networking Association to help improve medical access for his fellow sales colleagues, and later to help fundraise for the New York Fire and Police Widows' and Children's Benefit Fund after 9/11. Later, after learning about a desperate community of people living at a landfill in Tijuana, Mexico, Tony recruited a team of doctors and launched a non-profit organization called Healing Hearts Across Borders. This organization has been providing continuous care for this community for almost 20 years. In 2016, Tony launched the Resource Center for Certified Interpreters on Facebook, with a focus on encouraging colleagues to achieve certification goals. This included an endeavor for a Team Based Approach to achieving certification goals, which has resulted in more than 10 of his colleagues achieving their certification goals. In September 2017, Tony passed his State of California certification exams for interpretation. In 2018, Tony achieved CCHI Certification, and began serving the courts in San Bernardino as an Intermittent Interpreter. In 2019, Tony achieved the highest scores on the Defense Language Proficiency Test, and in 2020 Tony earned his first Federal Exam certification. Tony remains continuously motivated by a desire to serve others in his home, work, and community.

Andres Wallace

Advisor

Andres Wallace is a professional interpreter with over 7 years of experience including more than 5,000 hours of interpreting. He has a passion for the medical field, and especially helping his Latin American community by being a bridge of communication. Andres focuses on providing excellent and professional services, focusing on the patient, their cultural context, and their medical needs. Andres provides respectful, efficient services for his patients and always strives to go above and beyond what is expected of him.

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