Interpreting: The Missing Link in Helping to Decrease Health Care Disparities

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Information about Interpreting: The Missing Link in Helping to Decrease Health Care...

Published on September 30, 2013

Author: NCIHC



Interpreting: The Missing Link in Helping to Decrease Health Care Disparities

Interpreting: The Missing Link in Helping to Decrease Health Care Disparities Wilma Alvarado-Little, M.A. Enrica J. Ardemagni, Ph.D. WONCA World Conference of Family Doctors Cancun, Mexico, May 18-23, 2010

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 1998 - formally incorporated as 501(c)3  Multidisciplinary membership: Medical interpreters Interpreter service coordinators Educators/Trainers Clinicians Health Care Personnel Policy makers Advocates Researchers  Mission: to promote culturally competent professional health care interpreting as a means to support equal access to health services for individuals with limited English proficiency

1999 Systematic process of developing the building blocks for professionalizing the healthcare interpreting field 2004 Published National Code of Ethics

2004 Searchable Annotated Bibliography 2005 Published National Standards of Practice based on the Code of Ethics-define competent practice in the field

2001-2010  Published 13 NCIHC Working Papers  Sight Translation and Written Translation: Guidelines for Healthcare Interpreters (March  The Terminology of Health Care Interpreters: A Glossary of Terms (Revised 2008)  Are We Ready for National Certification of Health Care Interpreters? A Summary of NCIHC Open Forums. (October 2007)

2001-2010  Published 13 NCIHC Working Papers   Language Service Resource for Health Care Providers (October 2006)  The Interpreter's World Tour; The Environmental Scan of Standards of Practice for Interpreters (Mar ) Guide to Interpreter Positioning in Health Care Settings (November 2003)   Final Report on a Pilot of a Certification Process for Spanish-English Interpreters in Health Care, Conducted in 2003 (November 2003)  Models for the Provision of Health Care Interpreter Training (February 2002)

2001-2010  Published 13 NCIHC Working Papers Linguistically Appropriate Access and Services; An Evaluation and Review for Hea ) The Role of the Health Care Interpreter: An Evolving Dialogue, by Maria-Paz Belt )Guide to Initial Assessment of Interpreter Qualifications (April 2001)

2001-2010 (continued)  Open calls on important topics for healthcare interpreters. For example: Mental Health Interpreting Vicarious Trauma/Interpreter Self-Care Best Practices

2009 - 2010  Develop standards for healthcare interpreter training programs  Collaborate on a national certification process that will set a standard for qualification as a professional healthcare interpreter

2010  Co-authored “What’s in a Word: A Guide to Understanding Interpreting and Translation in Health Care” and “Resource Guide for Pharmacists” published by the National Health Law Program – target audience are healthcare workers  NCIHC Policy and Research Committee Toolkit

 Provide consistency in performance of role, leading to a dangerous potential for incomplete and inaccurate communication  Make health care providers and interpreters aware of the clinical and financial ramifications from using unqualified interpreters  Provide guidance when addressing ethical dilemmas during an interpreting encounter

 Assure that the ethics and protocols identified as fundamental by the interpreting community are reflected in standard-based training  Help assure consistency and accountability in healthcare interpreter training programs  Define the role Standards of Training will play in national certification

 Familiarity with regionalisms and slang in both languages;  Ability to identify differences in meaning due to dialects/regionalisms to ensure effective and accurate message conversion;  Ability to communicate in all registers/levels of formality;  Understanding of colloquialisms and idiomatic expressions in all working languages;  Working knowledge of anatomy and physiology;

 Extensive knowledge of the vocabulary and terminology related to diagnosis, prevention, treatment and management of illness and disease;  Thorough understanding of key concepts in health care such as confidentiality, informed consent and patients’ rights;  Thorough command of the vocabulary related to the provision of health care in both languages.

 Active listening skills  Message conversion skills  Clear and understandable speech delivery National Health Law Program

 Intimate knowledge of one’s own native language. Unless an individual has been raised in more than one culture and formally educated in more than one language, writing skills in one’s native language are superior to those of an acquired language. Someone may be able to speak in a second language but this is no indication that the second language may be flawless when writing;  Translators have mastered writing in the idiomatic and natural patterns of their native language;

 Medical translators must be experts in the area of the variety of fields that exist in the healthcare system. This includes everything from vocabulary and terminology to a basic knowledge of illnesses, procedures, medications and how healthcare systems function;  Translators must know the extent of their professional boundaries, especially when accepting to translate a document they know they feel qualified to translate as well as the time frame in which they can produce an accomplished product;

 A professional translator must have exceptional research skills, and be able to access reference materials that are essential for producing high- quality translations;  Medical translation today relies on everything from hand-written notes to advanced Computer-Assisted Translation software. Medical translators skills range the gamut from being able to work adeptly with handwritten notes to a vast array of computer and technology skills;

 Medical translators often translate documents that fall into the legal realm, such as informed consent forms, HIPAA laws, etc., and a qualified medical translator includes these legal-medical documents among his/her repertoire of translation skills;  Medical translators continuously stay abreast of new developments by reading professional literature in the healthcare fields;  Medical translators continuously hone their skills through professional development courses or trainings.

 Joint Commission Helping Organizations Help Patients  US Department of Health and Human Services National Standards on Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services  US HHS Office for Civil Rights  Agency for Healthcare Research Quality

Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities – University at Albany, SUNY  Presentation of materials to community  Utilization of resources with local healthcare organizations  Implementation of programs

 2011 New Orleans, LA  2010 Washington, D.C.  2009 Las Vegas, NV  2008 Atlanta, GA  2007 Chicago, IL

 Congressional visits in Washington, D.C. to advocate for language access

 Visit to La Clínica del Pueblo

 Advocacy Café - members had the opportunity to engage a leader from another organization in a discussion centered around the theme of advocacy

Ignatius Bau, Estela McDonough, Kaiser Permanente-Northern California (Carolyn Wang Kong)

Interpretini Reception – Networking

 Enrica J. Ardemagni, Ph.D. Board Co-Chair, NCIHC Professor of Spanish, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis Adjunct Professor Indiana University School of Medicine Department of Family Medicine Tel: 1-317-274-8957 Fax:1-317-278-7375 Email:  Wilma Alvarado-Little, M.A. Co-Chair, Policy and Research, NCIHC Board Director, Community Engagement/Outreach Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities University at Albany, SUNY Tel: 1-518-442-5976 Fax: 1-518-442-4563 Email:

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