249925 Supporting bilingual community health workers who facilitate access for linguistically diverse populations

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 9:10 AM

Nancy Esparza, MEd, CHES , Director, Language Link Division, Central Massachusetts Area Health Education Center, Inc., Worcester, MA
Tatyana Gorodetsky, MEd , Central Massachusetts Area Health Education Center, Inc., Worcester, MA
Joanne L. Calista, MS, LICSW , Executive Director, Central Massachusetts Area Health Education Center, Inc. (CM AHEC), Worcester, MA
Sara Trillo Adams, MA, LMHC , Director, Latino Mental Health Initiatives, Central Massachusetts Area Health Education Center, Inc. (CM AHEC), Worceter, MA
As noted in the 2000 U.S. Census, the cultural and linguistic demographics of the United States are becoming increasingly diverse; this is true in Worcester, one of four federal refugee resettlement sites in Massachusetts. While ethnically and linguistically diverse immigrants and refugees face significant barriers in accessing and utilizing health and social services, community health workers (CHWs) (e.g., outreach workers, patient navigators, promotoras/es de salud) are fundamental in assisting clients/patients to obtain a wide range of services and bridging these barriers. In navigating the diverse service delivery systems, bilingual CHWs are often called upon to serve as interpreters for their clients needing to interface with providers who don't have the linguistic capacity to communicate with them in their language. Local CHWs and administrators in health and social service organizations have consistently identified the need for training of bilingual CHWs in the principles of interpretation to enhance their ability to render reliable linguistically and culturally responsive communication. Recognizing this need, Central Massachusetts Area Health Education Center, Inc (CM AHEC) implemented a pilot 30-hour didactic and skills based course specifically tailored for CHWs who serve in dual roles (i.e., CHW and interpreter). 25 local bilingual CHWs successfully completed the course. In this presentation, we will describe the core elements of the course (e.g., definition of the function of the CHW in the role of interpreter and the development of interpreting skills for effective communication) and we will share training outcomes and lessons learned to support CHWs in negotiating these complex roles.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the complexities of the multiple roles of bilingual CHWs in serving as interpreters for their patients/clients in health and human service settings. 2. Demonstrate the need to support bilingual CHWs to bridge the communication gap between their patients/clients and the service delivery system. 3. Identify the core elements of a training program for bilingual CHWs to enhance their ability to render linguistically and culturally responsive communication.

Keywords: Access and Services, Cultural Competency

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was responsible for the planning, development and implementation of the program described in this presentation.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.