2 minutes with Alicia Booth

By Penny Schnarrs posted 08-02-2023 01:54:05 PM


@Alicia Booth Alicia (she/her) is a Designated Medical Sign Language Interpreter, LLC, with multiple hospitals and has been working in this field for 25 years. Members of the virtual community should reach out about Sign Language Interpreting and Captioning for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Healthcare Providers. #MemberSpotlight

headshot of woman with light asymmetric hair, hazel eyes, dark glasses, black blazer.

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Why do you think engaging in the AAMC Virtual Community is important?
In order to elevate the conversation around disability inclusion in medicine we must begin by sharing lived experiences.

Do you have a professional skill or area of expertise that might be of particular interest to your peers in this community? Are you the “go-to” person at your institution for advice or expertise in a particular subject?
I provide customized accommodations to deaf and hard of hearing healthcare providers which includes specialized medical sign language interpreters, adaptation in the environment, captioning, technology support.

What was the best TV show that you watched?
Black Mirror

What’s the best piece of professional advice you have ever received? 
Don't just pretend to be a tree the tree! All jokes aside, there is a lot of truth to walking in your own bark. When people see you living an authentic life it allows others the freedom to do so as well.

What’s the worst piece of professional advice you have ever received? 
"Know your place" was told to me one time. While it is true that we all have specific roles (especially in medicine), I believe sharing your creativity and vitality is how we grow as a society.

What do you think is the best, most challenging, or most unique thing about working in academic medicine?
Since our role as sign language interpreters to deaf and hard of hearing healthcare providers is still so unknown I find it challenging to educate institutions on the best practices of these types of services within the medical team from justifying the need, the quality of service, inclusion of the services and the role we play. There is not a lot of literature or research on designated medical interpreters in medicine.

What do you hope to gain from this online community? 
Knowledge is not only power, but sharing and applying the knowledge will truly allow me to continue to grow and represent my clients to the fullest so they also can be their best selves in their medical practice.

Did you have an unusual path to your current career? Tell us about it.
Most sign language interpreters are generalists providing interpretation throughout the deaf community in K-12 Education, Higher Education, Business, Medical, Theatre, etc., but to specialize is rare. For me, I found my way into medical education by eliminating what I did not like, which, in return makes me passionate and committed to my chosen specialty now, and able to apply what I learned as a generalist to enrich my work.

Thinking about all conferences, workshops, webinars you have attended in the last few years, was there a speaker or session topic that stands out as your favorite? 
Since my clients work across multiple medical specialties I have the opportunity to not only attend conferences on disability inclusion but also medical practice specialties ranging from Addiction Medicine, Family Medicine, Nursing, Medical School, and more! This means that I have heard a lot of great presenters. If I had to choose one I would say I am always inspired by Dr. Peter Pollous and Dr. Christopher Moreland.

How do you prefer to start your day?
With a cup of coffee while breathing in fresh air outside no matter the weather!

How do you prefer to end your day?
Watching the sunset and playing with our dogs.

What’s the biggest misconception people have about your position?
That all sign language interpreters are equally prepared and equipped to provide interpretation to individuals in medicine. Our roles as designated medical interpreters has taken years of challenging the system, expanding the boundaries of our profession, and understanding the needs of our clients in these unique environments.

You’re throwing a dinner party and can invite 3 people (alive or dead). Who do you invite?
Kurt Kobain, Ram Dass, Dr Judy Kegl

How did you maintain your wellness and resilience during the pandemic? Any tips to share with others?
Embracing change and welcoming a new norm into our daily lives. At times the opportunity to create new norms even allowed us to shed some of our old ways of thinking.

You live/work in Costa Rica. What’s your favorite restaurant there? Is there something special we should check out next time we visit?
Live in Costa Rica, Work in multiple cities across the United States. Originally from New Mexico - please try our New Mexican Cuisine. I can highly recommend Sadies!

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A writer.

What do you do to turn things around when you’re having a bad day?
Go for a walk, call a friend or watch stand-up comedy.

If you could only have three apps on your smartphone, which would you pick?

What’s the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?
Raw Pheasant

Do you have pets? 
Rescue does from jungle of Costa Rica; Australian Shepard and Dachshund.

rescue dogs, Dashaun and Australian Shepard cuddling on a pet bed.


Say “hello” to Alicia here in the communityFeel free to post any questions you have for her in this blog post, or direct messages via the community are also a great way to connect. 

If you’d like to be featured in a future Member Spotlight post, reach fill out this form. Curious about what a community champion is? Read more here.

And, if you’re viewing this Member Spotlight as a non-member of the community, won’t you consider joining us?