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Culturesmart Leader in National Medical Interpreter Training

Judy Kanter, M.Ed. of Culturesmart chosen in the inaugural group to improve communication between Spanish-speaking families, English-speaking staff

Boston, (May, 30, 2006)  Judy Kanter was selected as one of 25 trainers from across the country to implement a program designed to improve health care communication and safety. Judy recently returned from Phoenix, Arizona where she attended an intensive one-week program for trainers. Now that she has completed the training of trainers, she will be training bilingual health care workers in medical terms, interpreting protocol, multicultural understanding, leadership and teamwork for Culturesmart.

“Nearly every hospital receives patients with limited English proficiency, but less than 25 percent of the country’s hospitals are staffed with skilled interpreters,” said Barbara Rayes, who is master trainer for the project and coordinates translation services and language education at Phoenix Children’s Hospital. “Being a good interpreter means having a huge vocabulary in two languages, recognizing cultural differences, and being able to stay personally quiet while repeating what everyone else is saying. It’s art and science. It takes talent and training. Interpreters are in a very special role.”

Training bilingual interpreters is an urgent health and safety issue and is critical because it increases efficiency and decreases medical errors. In 2001, the University of Arizona and Phoenix Children’s Hospital developed the curriculum that trains bilingual speakers to be medical interpreters and medical interpreter trainers, with input from local and national experts.  Recent funding from the global organization Ronald McDonald House Charities, Inc. expands the project to a national level.

“This project will improve patient care and safety by developing trainers,” Rayes said.   “Teaching is a natural extension of the communication skills unique to interpreters and we are thrilled that Judy Kanter was chosen to be the trainer for Culturesmart based in Boston, Massachusetts.

For additional information about the program offered through Culturesmart, please contact Gregory Figaro at (617) 890-1111 or email info@culturesmart.org.

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Editor’s Note: Media are welcome to contact Juanita Francis, project manager, at (602) 481-3853, for additional information about the national Medical Interpreter Project for Children's Hospitals.

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