Megan Scott ’22 helps bridge the language barrier

Roby Hill
October 13, 2021

Twas brillig and the slithy toves did gyre and gimble in the wabe.

Sound like gibberish? Imagine asking someone for directions and getting that response. Now imagine those directions were not for a location, but for how to use the medication for your child.

Language barriers can be dangerous, even fatal, when it comes to health care. Megan Scott, a fourth-year student at the MUSC College of Pharmacy, has a special interest in helping underserved populations and recognizes how her conversational Spanish can make a huge difference in serving them.

“While shopping one day, I had the pleasure of meeting a Spanish-speaking family and was able to provide education regarding the COVID vaccine,” said Scott, who is of Hispanic heritage. “This family wasn't sure how to gather information about side effects and potential cost for non-citizens. Thankfully I was able to communicate with this family and inspired them to attend a vaccine appointment.”

Scott has found her basic conversational Spanish fluency has often helped her at CARES, MUSC’s nonprofit organization providing free medical care to uninsured patients, as well as in community pharmacies and various vaccine clinics. As a member of the CARES board last year, she assisted with Spanish nights and vaccine clinics which tended to predominantly Hispanic patients.

The MUSC enterprise offers a conversational medical Spanish elective as part of its extensive interprofessional curriculum.

A graduate of Rowan College at Burlington County, Scott has been very active as student leader at the MUSC College of Pharmacy, participating in Phi Delta Chi, National Community Pharmacists Association, American Pharmacists Association, CARES Clinic, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and the Under Represented Minorities Group.

“Having the ability to communicate with a patient whose primary language is different than my own is extremely rewarding,” Scott said. “Greeting a Spanish-speaking patient using the same language typically produces immediate rapport and a heightened alliance. Despite not being able to fully communicate using their language, I'm thankful to receive a patient's appreciation for helping in the best way I know how.”

(As for understanding that first sentence, she’d have to be fluent in Jabberwocky – the famed nonsense poem in Lewis Carroll’s 1871 novel “Through the Looking Glass.”)

About the Author

Roby Hill

Keywords: Hispanic Heritage Month, Diversity, College News