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Bridging the Gap - Medical Interpreter Training

"Accurate communication is essential for all stages of medical care. Professional associations and accrediting bodies are beginning to discuss revising accreditation standards to reflect the communication skills needed to care for patients from diverse cultural backgrounds in a variety of health care settings."  American Medical Association Cultural Competence Compendium, pages 89-90


To meet the needs of diverse communication backgrounds, the South Central KY AHEC contracts with The Cross Cultural Health Care Program to have individuals trained to teach "Bridging the Gap" Medical Interpreter Training.  "Bridging the Gap" is a curriculum produced and provided by the Cross Cultural Health Care Program (CCHCP) in Seattle, Washington.

South Central KY AHEC's training partner for Bridging the Gap Medical Interpreter Training is Community Action of Southern Kentucky located in Bowling Green, Kentucky.  Visit their website for current Bridging the Gap training opportunities and information.  


Health educators, health care providers, foreign language students, and bilingual lay persons who are interested in enhancing medical interpreting skills. Experience as a medical interpreter is not a prerequisite for his training. Participants must be fluent in English and at least one non-English language.

"Bridging the Gap" is a basic training course covering:

  1. Basic interpreting skills
  2. Information on health care
  3. Cross Cultural Communication
  4. Communication skills for advocacy
  5. Professional development

At the conclusion of the training, participants should be able to:

  1. develop a theoretical framework to understand the work and role of medical interpreters;
  2. develop, within the framework, a professional criteria to help the interpreter choose how to deal with any situation;
  3. demonstrate concrete skills dealing with interpretation, culture and advocacy that will allow the interpreter to respond effectively to each situation.

This is not a language course, per se, although it does aid in the development of medical vocabulary. We assume that interpreters coming into this training are already fluent in English and in at least one non-English language. Since there is no official interpreter fluency verification instrument in Kentucky, it is mandatory that the application provide proof of fluency either through educational courses or through life experiences.

The training employs participatory training techniques, including the interpreter in an active learning process. A large amount of time will be dedicated to analysis of role-plays, group discussion and practice.  A unique aspect of this curriculum is its treatment of culture as an integral part of communication and therefore an important aspect of the interpreter’s work. By integrating culture throughout the curriculum, the intention is to point out that culture is an important significant part of our lives, personally and professionally, and a crucial element in communication and health care.

In order to successfully complete the training, participants must pass (with a minimum grade of 70%) a written test on the last day of the training. The test will include:

• True/False, Multiple Choice and Matching questions

• Identification questions on anatomy (covered in training)

Please click on the Community Action of Southern Kentucky (CASKY) link below for more information and to apply.

Community Action of Southern Ky

Classes are scheduled on an as needed basis. Contact South Central Ky AHEC for more information or to request a class.

Phone:  270-745-3325

Email:  ahec@wku.edu


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 Last Modified 5/25/23