eUpdate
Vol. 2 No. 4
April 2005

Hablamos Juntos eUpdate is a periodic electronic newsletter that focuses on current developments in improving patient-provider communication for individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP). This is achieved by highlighting activities of the Hablamos Juntos program and our grantees, sharing information on recent advancements and current discussion on language services.

 
This Issue's Articles

Interpreter Training Programs Update
Mundo Hispano: A New Way to Search
In the News: Issues from Around the Country
Interpreter Encounters

Making the News: Grantees and HJ Efforts Make Headlines

Interpreter Training Programs Update
 
These 15 interpreters were the first graduating class from an interpreting training course offered through the Regional Medical Center in Memphis, Tennessee.
 

Earlier this month, 15 interpreters graduated from a healthcare interpreter training program offered through the Regional Medical Center at Memphis. These graduates are the result of five new training programs developed by Hablamos Juntos grantees.

In Memphis, Tennessee, The Regional Medical Center partnered with the University of Tennessee Health Science Center to offer a certificate program to train health interpreters. Four other colleges and universities began similar training programs in Fall 2004. The other educational institutions include Central Community College in Grand Island, Nebraska; Clemson University in Greenville, South Carolina; Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama and University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas.

The range and dynamic of each program is different. The program in Grand Island is using distance learning technology, offering courses over the Internet and developing DVD’s to enable students to attend the program from where they live. The courses are designed to lead to an associate of applied science degree. Clemson University is using the interpreter curriculum to complete an offering for a Bachelor of Science degree in Language and International Health while University of North Texas is using the material for a newly developed Master of Public Health Degree in Health Interpreting and Health Applied Linguistics (HIHAL) offered by the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

The programs are making interpreter training accessible locally and are a significant improvement on types of interpreter training offered before. In most communities, interpreter training is dependent on employers being willing to pay for 40-48 hour workshops that give a quick glimpse at medical interpreting. In these programs, medical information such as the entire circulatory system including terminology, common conditions and frequent medical treatments and procedures can be covered in minutes.

In addition to offering more time, these interpreter training programs focus on local needs. Samford University, for example, offers many of its courses in the evenings or on the weekends to accommodate working adults. Other programs are holding classes within the facilities of their health care partners. Although the programs are unique, all are benefiting greatly from the materials they received in the training offered through Kaiser Permanente last year.

These new programs began by learning about a Health Care Interpreter Certificate Training Program (HCICP), a one-year, 15-unit college program offered by City College of San Francisco, and by attending the Health Care Interpreter Instructor Training Institute, an initiative of Hablamos Juntos & Kaiser Permanente, funded by Kaiser Permanente & The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The week long training program was developed to review the major components of the City College curriculum, standards of practice and skills needed by interpreters, teaching techniques, and materials used to train interpreters effectively. Representatives from Hablamos Juntos grantee sites as well as their educational partners totaling 30 participants attended the meeting. Participants came away with instructor’s tools and three binders of materials to teach the courses.

Overall, participants gave a high evaluation of the Kaiser sponsored program. “Having five programs begin in such a short period of time speaks volumes for the need of these programs. Clearly, communities that form partnerships between education institutions and health care organizations to bring college level training to local health interpreters will reach the goal of using qualified health interpreters faster than those where interpreters are left to train on the job,” said Dr. Yolanda Partida, director of Hablamos Juntos national program office.

One year later in Memphis, 15 graduates are a testament to the budding success of these programs.

More on Interpreter Services...

 
Mundo Hispano: A New Way to Search

 
COUNTRY
"Silbido en el pecho"
"Silbidos en el pecho"
"Sibilancias" con asma
"Respiración sibilante" con asma
"Respiración con silbido"
"Respiración con silbidos"
  United States
5
2
46
16
288
0
  Argentina
18
84
394
17
2
9
  Bolivia
0
1
5
0
1
0
  Chile
24
26
191
7
2
2
  Colombia
1
6
40
1
1
1
  Costa Rica
3
1
19
3
0
0
  Cuba
0
2
45
0
2
0
  Dominican Rep.
0
2
6
0
0
0
  Venezuela
3
6
31
2
0
0
  TOTAL
193
225
1981
110
301
13

Have you ever wondered how to translate “wheezing,” a condition common in asthmatics, into Spanish? There are several Spanish versions; but how would a translator know which term to choose? Mundo Hispano, a new user interface to the Google search engine to be debuted in May, will be soon offered through the Hablamos Juntos website to show how common Spanish phrases and words are across 21 Spanish-speaking countries.

A challenge of Spanish translations is ensuring comprehension across speakers from different nations since some terminology is not consistent across Spanish speaking nations. The challenge is made more difficult when Spanish equivalents are needed for terms unique to the American health care system.

Mundo Hispano allows users to input up to four Spanish words or phrases to search whether these terms are used in websites in 21 Spanish speaking countries, including the United States. The program reports the frequency with which that word or phrase shows up by country and links to the top ten websites found in each country. Patterns emerge, showing the frequency with which terms are used by country.

To illustrate how Mundo Hispano works, the abbreviated table featured shows the results for four terms that can be used to translate “wheezing” in the first 8 countries searched, the last country searched and total count. None of the terms searched are commonly used in any country. The term most frequently used “sibilanciascon asma was found only 1981 times across all countries. Moreover, the term “respiración con silbido” used in US websites had a total of 301 hits, most of these on US websites (288); it is not used in any Spanish speaking country.

Designed by Asier Alcázar, Research Assistant at Hablamos Juntos, the program utilizes the Google API service to support multiple, simultaneous queries. Users can search for multiple words across multiple countries, and the results are displayed in a country-by-query table with frequency counts. The program also makes the top ten sites for each query available to allow the user to visit the websites counted to determine if the search is credible. Alcázar, is a doctorate student in the Hispanic Linguistics program at University of Southern California, and also working on a master degree in Computational Linguistics.

For example, assuming that a user searched for 3 candidate translations across 21 countries, the user would have to do 63 individual Google searches, one per word per country. However, using the specialized search interface, the frequency counts for the query and the URLs that matched the query are displayed in the table. The highest count is highlighted and each count is linked to a set of sample results that would be displayed in the same format as a Google search.

Mundo Hispano, although not specific to only translators, can help users find the origins of words as well as understand why certain terminology may or may not be understood by patients based on the patients’ background. The program is designed to search Spanish-speaking countries, but similar tools can be developed for other languages. Languages in countries that are fast becoming Internet users are the best candidates.

A possible future development using this software would be a word bank that would compile the results of words or phrases searched by Mundo Hispano. These results would be organized into a common phrase glossary that would also be offered through the website.

More about the Mundo Hispano project...

 
In the News: Issues from Around the Country

New Standard Requirement for Language and Communication Needs

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations created a new language standard that will require organizations to include patients’ language and communication needs in the medical record. This new requirement went forth to the field as a requirement for the collection of information on race, ethnicity, and primary language. Although collection of this information is imperative to the goal of achieving safe and quality treatment for a diverse population, the Joint Commission is sensitive to the perceived burden of data collection as well as current underestimate of its importance. The Joint Commission will, therefore, work with the field to identify cost effective and resource sensitive processes and information systems that can achieve this goal. Future standards development activities will consider including race and ethnicity information as part of this requirement.

Language Access Act Anniversary

April is the one year anniversary for the Language Access Act passed by the Council of the District of Columbia to increase language access to government services and benefits. On April 21, 2004, Mayor Anthony A. Williams signed into law the Language Access Act (LAA). The central purpose of the LAA is to provide equal access and participation to public services, programs and activities for residents of the District of Columbia who are not English proficient. The Act was championed by Council member Jim Graham, and five other Council members.

Full text can be found here:

For other stories, please visit the Hablamos Juntos Media Center...

 
Interpreter Encounters
Grantees collected personal vignettes of experiences interpreters had with patients and physicians. Most encounters affirm the important role interpreters have in improving communication for patients and providers.

 

Forgotten questions: Interpreters can get more information

The interpreter was working the night shift at the hospital when a young man arrived in the ER via EMS. He had been in a car accident and had multiple injuries. The ER doctor spoke some Spanish and did the initial assessment. Once the doctor was done, the nurse called the interpreter to fill in the gaps on the patient’s history. The patient answered all of the questions and the nurse left. As the interpreter was getting ready to leave, the patient asked her to come closer and said he has something to tell her. The patient said he had AIDS and for some reason that was not asked at any time during the interview. The interpreter told the nurse what the patient had said and to inform the doctor that had done the assessment. Without an interpreter, this particular patient probably would have waited a long time before revealing his chronic health condition.

A moment worth of work, a lifelong memory: Patients value interpreters help

A woman came into the hospital to have her baby. Being unable to communicate with her, the staff in the Labor and Delivery called an interpreter to provide interpretation services. Unbeknownst to all of the staff, the woman’s husband had left her the day before. Being upset as well as afraid, she begged the interpreter to stay with her during the birth. The next morning after the interpreter’s shift was over, he went home, never to see her again…so he thought. Several months ago, the interpreter encountered the same woman again, this time in Wal-Mart. She introduced the interpreter to her son James. She had named her son after interpreter.

More on Vignettes...

 
Making the News: Grantees and HJ Efforts Make Headlines
Signs of the Times: St. Francis Part of National Sign Study
By Mike Bockoven, The Independent

Brief:
The Independent highlighted St. Francis Medical Center’s participation in the Hablamos Juntos “Signs that Work” study in which pictorial representations are used to provide directions across the hospital instead of signs in English and Spanish. Located in Grand Island, Nebraska, St. Francis Medical Center is a partner of one of the ten Hablamos Juntos grantee sites, the Central Nebraska Area Health Education Center.

To view other articles, please refer to our Media Center ...

 
Who We Are

Hablamos Juntos (Spanish for "We Speak Together") is a unique project designed to forge connections between health care providers and the rapidly growing Latino health market. As a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Hablamos Juntos is investing $10 million in ten demonstration sites around the country. These sites, ranging from health plans and large hospital systems to small nonprofit community organizations, will work to improve communication between health care providers and patients and eliminate language barriers that can lead to medical errors and compromise the quality of care.

More on Hablamos Juntos...

 
National Program Office
Feel free to contact Hablamos Juntos with questions or suggestions
Hablamos Juntos
University of Southern California
School of Policy, Planning & Development
650 Childs Way, Lewis Hall, Room 102
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0626
Telephone: (213) 743-1556
Fax: (213) 743-1553
Email: info@hablamosjuntos.org
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