Marlyn Salazar, BS, RTT, a radiation therapist team leader for Head and Neck Cancers at Mass General, is also a member of the Radiation Oncology Multi-Cultural Leadership Committee. Throughout the course of her work, Marlyn recognized the challenges of providing simple instructions to non-English speaking patients while they are positioning themselves on the treatment table for radiation. With up to 30 daily treatments, there were often patients who required assistance in multiple languages.
Marlyn worked with the interpreters’ office to record 20 common phrases specific to radiation therapy in the six most common foreign languages therapists encounter. She then partnered with a computer programmer colleague to design a simple online tool that radiation therapists can access from a treatment room computer. Now, therapists can simply select a language, click on the appropriate phrase, and it will play a specific instruction for the patient. This tool helps staff provide a welcome atmosphere for all of their patients, regardless of language. Marlyn’s willingness to lead this initiative is a true symbol of her dedication to patients: they can experience more personalized care because Marlyn chose to take a step beyond her daily workload.