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Curriculum Development and Delivery of Medical Interpreter Training Programs: Statewide Collaboration to Overcome Health Disparities

Lisa Morris, MSTD, Director, Cross Cultural Initiatives, Office of Community Programs, Commonwealth Medicine, University of Massachusetts Medical School, 222 Maple Avenue, Chang Building, Shrewsbury, MA 01545, 508-856-3572, Lisa.Morris@umassmed.edu

Data consistently shows that linguistic, racial, and/or ethnic minorities experience higher rates of morbidity and mortality form chronic disease. Because accurate communication is a vital component in the delivery and receipt of effective health care, the availability of culturally and linguistically competent care is increasingly recognized as a prerequisite to quality health care and the reduction of health disparities. The use of trained medical interpreters improves access to health care, the quality of that care, and patient health outcomes. The Office of Community Programs at the University of Massachusetts Medical School bridges health training resources and expertise with community needs. Since 1992, the Statewide Medical Interpreter Training Program has been delivered across the state through the Office of Community Programs at the Medical School, in partnership with Mass Health, the State's welfare program of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS), utilizing the skills of six regional Area Health Education Centers (AHEC's) as a delivery mechanism. Massachusetts is on the forefront nationwide of establishing statewide certification, and vocalizing the necessity of creating uniform standards and a code of ethics for medical interpreters. This presentation will focus not only on the innovative curriculum of the Medical Interpreter Training program, but also on how it was developed historically. It will also describe ongoing collaboration with the Massachusetts Medical Interpreter Association in its development of standards of practice for appropriate training of medical interpreters.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Cultural Competency, Interpreters

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Cultural Competency/Diversity: Understanding Diversity From a Community Perspective

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA