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Bridging the Gap Medical Interpreting Class

  • Author: Lucy Juett
  • Author: Friday, July 24th, 2015

In partnership with the Community Action of Southern Kentucky, the South Central AHEC sponsored a Bridging the Gap medical interpreting class.  This 40 hour class was completed in June with a total of 18 participants representing the following countries and corresponding languages: Venezuela, Rwanda, Peru, Vietnam, Mexico, Granados, Columbia, El Salvador, and Chile.

The training was held at the offices of Community Action of Southern KY in Bowling Green, KY.

Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance and includes discrimination based on an individual’s ability to speak and/or understand English.  Therefore, any health provider who accepts Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement is required to provide language access services for their patients.  Language access services can be face to face medical interpreters or can be telephone medical interpreters.

Bridging the Gap is the first step in the Certified Medical Interpreter (CMI) process.  Upon completion of the 40 hour Bridging the Gap Medical Interpreter Training Program, applicants must first pass a written exam followed by an oral exam to become a Certified Medical Interpreter.

Bridging the Gap

Front Row, Left to Right: Yamile Walker/ Venezuela, Nyiramana Speciose/ Rwanda,  Leydi Blanton/ Venezuela, Graciela Wells/ Peru, Mahli Apedaile/ Venezuela, Heath Ray (trainer)

Second Row: Leyda Becker (trainer), Sharon Thomas/ US, Scott Walker/ US, Nguyen T Hoang/ Vietnam, Jesica Hayes/ US, Adabella Nunez/ Mexico, Maria Constanza Granados Thorschmidt/ Columbia

Back Row:  Patricia Tarquino (trainer), Gloria Rivera del Prado/ Mexico, Carlos Andres Torres/Mexico, Elizabeth Montoya/ El Salvador, Ana Maria Sancristoful/ Chile, Amelia Durbin/ US

The Cross Cultural Health Care Program (CCHCP) in Seattle, Washington is a nonprofit training and consulting organization founded in 1992. Their mission is to serve as a bridge between communities and health care institutions to advance access to quality health care that is culturally and linguistically appropriate.  CCHCP developed Bridging the Gap (BTG) Medical Interpreter Training program and trains and licenses agencies to offer this training across the United States.  In Kentucky there are only 3 agencies licensed to offer BTG; one is Catholic Charities in Louisville and the other two are in Bowling Green – South Central AHEC located at WKU in the College of Health and Human Services and Community Action of Southern Kentucky. 

The AHEC and Community Action formed a partnership a couple of years ago to maximize our limited resources and together we offer at least 2 BTG training programs a year.  The most recent BTG 40 hour training program was held in Bowling Green in June with a total of 18 participants representing 9 different countries and their respective languages.  BTG participants must pass a written exam to receive a certificate of completion which is the first step in the national certification for medical interpreters.

Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act prohibits discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance and includes discrimination based on an individual’s ability to speak and/or understand English.  Therefore, any health provider who accepts Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement is required to provide language access services for their patients.  Language access services can be face to face medical interpreters or can be telephone medical interpreters.

The International Refugee Center in Bowling Green has increased the need for medical interpreters.  While Bowling Green does not have many full time medical interpreting positions, many health care organizations will use contract interpreters or the language line. 

For additional information, contact the South Central AHEC at 270-745-3325.

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 Last Modified 4/20/18