Diversity Rx Conference – Part I

Diversity Rx Conference – Part I

I participated in the Diversity Rx conference as a representative of the UMHS Interpreter Services Program. I staffed the information table at the conference Expo, and also had opportunities to attend plenary sessions and workshops. The followings are the highlights of what learned from this conference.

From Welcome and Introductions session:

  • The city of Oakland has a Chinese-American female mayor and there is a very high percentage of the Asian population.
  • There is an organization called, “Asian Heath Services” in Oakland and currently 5000 people are on their waiting list to receive health care. I was aware that historically there has been a much higher number of Asians living in the West coast regions, but I didn’t imagine the city of Oakland had that large an Asian population.
  • I have never heard of a word, ‘patient of color,’ and I wondered if I am considered one of them. (In the US context, ‘people of color’ is often used to describe the African-American population, so maybe not. I need to study more.)
  • The word ‘disparity’ is used to describe inequality in health care. This usage was completely new to me.
  • LEP patients are considered to be one of the disadvantaged groups. I’ve always thought my role as an interpreter is to make a bridge between people who do not share languages. I certainly do not consider our Japanese patients as a disadvantaged group. This is a positive thing, but has always limited the way I think about things more critically.

From Certification for Medical Interpreters: Updates from Two Programs:

  • CMI certification is valid for 5 years while CHI is valid for four years.
  • The next language groups for the oral exam are Korean and Vietnamese for CMI and Russian and Vietnamese for CHI.  (I was hoping they would make Japanese available next.)
  • CCHI written exam seems to assess the role of interpreter more than CMI exam does.
  • CCHI oral exam includes simultaneous interpretation, but CMI does not have that component.
  • CCHI will have CEAP (Continuing Education Accreditation Program) available in August 2013 for people to get their training sessions accredited.
  • CCHI employees rate CCHI oral exams.
  • In Oregon, they do not recognize CMI or CCHI.  Interpreters have to complete 60 hours of training and have 40 hours of work experience.

From Plain Language to High Tech: Communication Strategies Across Language Barriers:

  • “Mobile Wave” by Michael Saylor (2012) talks about how the development of mobile technology will change our lives. I think the development of the mobile technology has already influenced how UMHS Interpreter Services interpreters work every day. I use my phone almost all the time while I am at the clinic. It has dramatically increased my productivity at work.
  • Companies such as “Verbalizeit” and “Sendboo” offer instant translation services, but the accuracy of their translation is questionable. People using this type of service need to know when it is appropriate to utilize it.
  • I did not know the President Obama signed the Plain Language Act in 2010.
  • Voice for Health CEO, Michelle Scott, in Grand Rapids uses the concept of plain language editing in their translation process.
  • There are four components in the concept of ‘health literacy’ – visual literacy, computer literacy, information literacy, and numerical literacy.
  • Health literacy is not correlated to the level of education and the type of occupation. It is influenced by the patient’s stress level, illness (types of illness and the degree of severity?), age, and experience.
  • When assessing LEP patient’s health literacy, we have to look at 1) education level, 2) country of origin, 3) literacy rate, 4) health system, 5) access to education, 6) access to information.
  • In the process of plain language editing, elements such as sentence structure, logic gaps, unnecessary concepts or phrases, colloquialisms, cultural expressions, abbreviations, acronyms, word choices, and units of measurements should be reviewed.
  • The best person for plain language editing is someone with teaching experience and cultural knowledge.
  • The best way to assess whether the translation is culturally and medically appropriate is to have both cultural and medical reviews and have a focus group check the translated material. Of course, this will be time consuming and costly….
  • Currently, no certification is available for medical translators. Even if someone has the ATA certification, we should always check his or her experience as a medical translator before assigning a project.
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