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Program to Offer Training to Bilingual Individuals


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 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 October 11 through December 20, 2005 at Le Bonheur Children”s Medical Center.

Designed to serve as part of a national standardized model, this Healthcare Interpreter Training program will help develop linguistically and culturally competent interpreters who can function effectively and efficiently in healthcare settings.

The Healthcare Interpreter Course at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center was created in partnership with En Memphis Hablamos Juntos at The Regional Medical Center in Memphis. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation developed the curriculum, and The MED is one of ten sites funded nationwide to reduce cultural and linguistic barriers in healthcare institutions in order to provide better access to quality healthcare for individuals of Hispanic origin. The UTHSC site has offered the course twice previously, graduating a total of 22 interpreters.

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 Latino Health Programs 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