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Joint Commission Perspectives on Patient Safety interviews Culturesmart client Stefanie Trice of Queens Health Network

April 2006

The April 2006 article titled, “Is Your Organization Linguistically Competent? Providing effective interpreter services” features an interview with Stefanie Trice, Senior Associate Director of the Office of Cultural and Linguistic Diversity Development for the Queens Health Network (QHN). Culturesmart was selected as a vendor by QHN in 2004 for the training of 120 bilingual staff and volunteers of QHN, using the Culturesmart 40-Hour Multilingual Medical Interpreter Training Program.

Culturesmart was selected as a vendor among several others because it offered a rigorous training course which was not only effective at building interpreting skills but also utilized screening tools to determine participants’ linguistic abilities and interpreting skills before and after training process, respectively. Referring to this training project conducted by Culturesmart, Trice mentions, “We … have 60 dual-role staff that provide Bengali, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Korean, Mandarin-Chinese, Spanish or Urdu interpreting services in addition to their usual duties, along with a committed corps of skilled volunteer interpreters that have long served Elmhurst Hospital and who also went through this quality improvement process.”

Trice’s confidence in the Culturesmart model was reflected in her comments about recommended models for training interpreters:
“If, like QHN, an organization chooses to offer such training to staff, Trice recommends the following requirements:

  • Training should be a minimum of 40 hours.
  • Bilingual fluency should be a prerequisite for training. Language skills should be tested before an individual begins training.
  • Interpreting skills and accuracy should be taught and tested with the assistance of skilled language-specific interpreters (or language coaches).
  • Students’ knowledge and accuracy of interpreting should be tested after training through written exams (on ethics and vocabulary) and oral demonstration of interpreting skills.
  • Certificates should be issued to those who have successfully demonstrated the ability to interpret accurately and in compliance with ethical guidelines.”

Culturesmart’s Medical Interpreter Training Program is offered to bilingual staff at health care practices throughout the country and to qualified individuals who are interested in becoming medical interpreters. Its design and skill-building curriculum have been developed specifically to address the needs of healthcare organizations and their staff.


If you’d like more information about The Essential Piece™ curriculum or if you are interested in bringing this training to your area, please call Greg Figaro at 617-890-1111 or email info@culturesmart.org


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