Center on Health Disparities
Adventist Healthcare in Rockville, MD, is one of a handful of hospital systems that have created centers dedicated to bridging the cultural gap that can exist when treating diverse patient populations. Marcos Pesquera, executive director of Adventist's Center on Health Disparities, explains how the center's new Quality Bilingual Staff Training Program specifically trains bilingual staff to interpret in a medical situation.
Pesquera: One big challenge that hospitals have is trusting in the quality of interpreting services that bilingual staff will give. A lot of hospitals basically grab people from the hallway and say, "Do you speak Spanish? OK, get over here." That's a scary thought because you don't know the proficiency of this individual in Spanish, and you also don't know if they are able to express back to you in English what they just heard accurately and in a way that's going to benefit the patient-provider relationship.
We have quarterly training for our bi-lingual staff in which we test them in their language of service as well as English. If they pass, we put them through a three-day training program on proper interpreting skills. We're not teaching them the language; we're teaching them the proper interpreting skills for a medical encounter.