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Program to Offer Training for Enhanced Patient Care


Are you fluent in Spanish and English, as well as interested in becoming a trained interpreter in a healthcare setting?

Are you fluent in Spanish and English, as well as interested in becoming a trained interpreter in a healthcare setting?

A new program administered by the Children’s Foundation Research Center in affiliation with the University of Tennessee’s College of Allied Health Sciences, will be offered on Tuesday evenings from 5:30 to 8 p.m. beginning January 11 through April 12, 2005 at a hospital in the medical district.

Designed to serve as part of a national standardized model, this Health Care Interpreter Training program will help reduce cultural and linguistic barriers in healthcare institutions in order to provide better access to quality healthcare for individuals of Hispanic origin.

Developed in partnership with En Memphis Hablamos Juntos at the Regional Medical Center in Memphis, this course is part of a national program being offered in ten cities across the United States. The Hablamos Juntos curriculum is designed to develop linguistically and culturally competent interpreters who can function effectively and efficiently in health care settings. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded both the development and implementation of the curriculum.

According to Marian Levy, DrPH, RD, UT assistant professor and associate director for the Health Promotion and Grants Management Department of the Children’s Foundation Research Center, there is a critical need for this program. “Currently there are real barriers to properly communicating with Spanish speaking individuals in the healthcare system. There are already challenges in communicating complex health information to patients in English. When you add to that, trying to interpret the information in Spanish, combined with the cultural and linguistic differences, it’s very difficult. Also, often times, a child or other family member with a limited knowledge of medical terminology serves as the translator, and this poses an ethical dilemma.” Dr. Levy commented that Memphis currently has approximately 70,000 to 150,000 Hispanics, and the need for improved access to healthcare for this population will only increase.

Course instructor will be Espi Ralston, a native of Spain and director of Hispanic community outreach for the Children’s Foundation Research Center. A previous interim project director for En Memphis Hablamos Juntos, she has master’s degrees in romance languages; teaching, curriculum and instruction; and philosophy and letters, with an extensive teaching background. A leader in the Memphis Hispanic community, Ralston is on the board of Latino Memphis, as well as Project Coordinator of the Para Los Ni