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HCIN continues to serve as a model for health care organizations committed to high quality language access for their patients.

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What's New at the Network

 

Mar. 20, 2015

Expanding Access to Indigenous Languages

As part of its ongoing commitment to broaden the language access of our member organizations, Health Care Interpreter Network is proud to partner with Indigenous Interpreting+ (II+) to connect HCIN hospitals and clinics across the U.S. with skilled interpreters of many indigenous languages of Mexico and Central America.

Indigenous Interpreting+ is based in Salinas, California, in the central coast agricultural region of the state. More than 30,000 indigenous immigrants and their families live in this area, many of them from the linguistically rich states of Oaxaca, Guerrero and Chiapas, Mexico.

Mexico is home to dozens of indigenous languages, many of them splintered into variants that are not mutually intelligible. For instance, a Mixteco-speaker from San Martín Peras may not understand a Mixteco-speaker from Unión de Cárdenas. If these people are not also fluent in Spanish, then many organizations are unable to communicate with them effectively. HCIN and II+ are now addressing this problem with great success. HCIN members can pre-schedule a video interpreter in advance, using the network’s Scheduled Appointment Center. Additionally, HCIN’s primary (on-demand) service routes users directly to II+ Interpreter Coordinator Judith Pacheco, who works quickly to ascertain the correct language variant—chiefly by asking the patient’s home town—and contact the best possible interpreter from the program’s growing staff.

II+ was co-founded by Victor Sosa, a veteran interpreter, manager and trainer at Natividad Medical Center, and Angélica Isidro, a native Mixteco-speaker and community leader from nearby Greenfield, who works as both an interpreter and a facilitator helping other interpreters integrate themselves into the healthcare environment and other settings. The work is sponsored by Natividad Medical Foundation, whose President and CEO Linda Ford provided grant funding and access to the Foundation’s supporters in the local agricultural community. HCIN Administrative Director Melinda Paras is enthusiastic about the program, noting:

Many hospitals feel they can’t meet the communication needs of patients who speak languages of lesser diffusion. Health Care Interpreter Network has determined that the only way to make these languages available is by partnering with community-based organizations that have deep roots in the immigrant and refugee communities where these languages are spoken. Indigenous Interpreting+ is one of several such partnerships we have developed, and they are doing a great job for the hospitals and patients in our network. We are excited to have them.

As HCIN has rolled out on-demand access to the II+ interpreters, users have included Natividad Medical Center in Salinas, Ventura County Medical Center, Magnolia Clinic in Oxnard, CA, Kern Medical Center in Bakersfield, and Kaweah Delta Medical Center in Visalia, CA. Languages available include multiple variants of Mixteco and Triqui, as well as Zapoteco, Chatino and Mam.

Photo: Indigenous Interpreting+ interpreter Sergio Martinez (Triqui de San Juan Copala) with program co-founders Angélica Isidro and Victor Sosa. (photo credit: Ces Rosales)


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