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Programa SALUD at Johns Hopkins University

Our organization welcomes anyone who is interested in helping minorities in Baltimore, Maryland, specifically the increasing Hispanic minority. By means of our different projects, we provide assistance to those seeking medical care and other resources to improve their quality of life. Our organization gives volunteers a full immersion into the clinical side of medicine and the opportunity to help those in need while using their Spanish-speaking abilities. Proficiency in Spanish is not required, but basic knowledge of the language and a desire to improve is recommended. We are based at the Homewood campus of Johns Hopkins University and work with several partner institutions in the city of Baltimore such as the Esperanza Center, Eastern STD clinic, Eastern Family Planning and Casa de Maryland among others.

If you are interested in joining us, please take a look at our projects and sign up!

About Us

The purpose of our organization is to improve the health of the Hispanic community by providing health promotion education and eliminating the cultural and linguistic barriers that exist when seeking medical care.

To this end, SALUD mainly targets two populations, the Hispanic community and their healthcare providers by:

  • Organizing health fairs, health education presentations and community outreach events
  • Offering cultural competency training and interpretation services
  • Providing access to resources such as health insurance, financial, and pharmacy assistance to patients

The Hispanic minority has become the fastest growing minority of the nation and along with this overgrowth, there has been a lack of resources for many people. To prevent this issue from worsening and affecting our nation's public health, many initiatives similar to SALUD have been started all over the country. The language barrier between physicians and patients has become even stronger and the number of uneducated people has increased. As a result, hundreds of people have been left with limited to no access to medical care and other basic resources. This has been detrimental to the health of the community and the incidence rates of preventable disease and infections are higher than they should be.

Bilingual Interpreting

The goal of the Bilingual Interpreting Project is to address the language barrier in health care between Spanish-speaking patients and public health services. Volunteers from Johns Hopkins University devote their time and skills at the STD Clinic in the East Baltimore City Health Department, translating between Spanish and English for doctors and patients to ensure accurate and efficient communication. As bilingual interpreters, student volunteers have a chance to not only exercise their medical Spanish but also to reach out to an underserved population in the city that they are part of.

Student volunteers are expected to have a strong command of English and Spanish, a professional attitude, and cultural competency. A minimum commitment of 2 hours per week ensures that the STD clinic will have at least one interpreter for most of the time that it is open to patients.

Family Planning

The Family Planning Clinic strives to provide middle-aged and young women knowledge about birth control and the means to obtain it. Volunteers from the Johns Hopkins University devote their time to translate between Spanish-speaking patients and the healthcare providers. We work hard to not only enhance the interaction between patients and doctors but also make the patients feel more comfortable and confident that their questions will be answered in their language. This is a great opportunity for volunteers to practice Medical Spanish and to actively work for the betterment of our community.

The volunteers are expected to be fluent in both English and Spanish but most importantly, to be respectful and professional at all times. A minimum of 3 hours per week is required for all volunteers.

Esperanza Center

The Esperanza Center provides free medical and dental services to immigrants in Baltimore who do not qualify for health insurance and who do not have the economic means to pay for health care. The clinic, which is operated on the second floor of the three-story center, offers no-cost quality primary and preventive care for adults and children. Services are provided by dedicated volunteers and staff, in partnership with St. Agnes Hospital and Johns Hopkins Medical Institute, on both a walk-in and by-appointment basis. Volunteers are able to do a variety of things depending on their skill set and level of Spanish. The normal tasks of a volunteer include taking general measurements (height, weight, blood pressure, etc.), helping patients fill out forms for financial assistance, and calling patients for appointment reminders or to ask general information regarding their physical or financial status.

Mi Ayuda

Mi Ayuda works closely with Gina Baez at the Casa de Maryland and has two components. The first one is research-oriented — we ask the students and their parents about the issues that worry them (e.g. violence, peer pressure…) and about what they know of mental health. Afterwards, we address those specific issues in interactive education sessions led by Johns Hopkins undergraduates and graduate students. We've received IRB approval, obtained a grant from the Urban Health Insitute and partnered up with Dr. Marcos Grados, the director of clinical psychiatry at Johns Hopkins.

We go there every week to work with the kids and this is a great opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the mental health of young Latinos.


President: Vanessa Markgraf

Vice President: Arabiye Artola

Treasurer: Natalie Hernandez/ Cristina Bastida

Social Chair: Eduardo Ochoa

Mi Ayuda: Cristina Viguera

Family Planning: Julied Bautista

Esperanza Center: Rebeca Vergara

Bilingual Interpreting: Elisabetta Hobbins

CSC Consortium Representative: Oscar Reyes

Webmaster: Eddie Kong

Questions? Email us at