ForHealth Consulting Conference Unites Medical Interpreters from Across the Country

The Massachusetts Medical Interpreter Training program at ForHealth Consulting at UMass Chan Medical School recently hosted the virtual “Paving the Way to Health Care Access Conference 2023” on May 19 and 20. The annual conference emphasizes the important role of trained medical interpreters as communication facilitators in a patient-centered healthcare system. The two-day conference hosted 306 total attendees from 19 states with a total of 41 represented languages.

“The conference was a tremendous success this year with highly skilled professionals from the medical interpretation field delivering powerful workshops,” said Lisa Morris, director of cross-cultural initiatives in Disability and Community Services at ForHealth Consulting. “Equity and inclusion were topics of particular importance, especially language access, providing interpretation in spiritual care, understanding one’s rights as an interpreter, skill-based training to improve delivery, and understanding the impact of the future and the rise of artificial intelligence.”

The conference featured multiple learning opportunities for interpreters, including 28 workshops led by clinicians, directors of interpreter services, trainers of interpreters, professors, and consultants of interpreter services and language access. ForHealth Consulting Executive Vice Chancellor, Lisa M. Colombo, DNP, MHA, RN, welcomed attendees to the event and introduced the keynote speaker, Matilde Castiel, MD, Commissioner of Health & Human Services for the City of Worcester and associate professor at UMass Chan Medical School. The closing speaker was Katharine Allen, MA, a community and conference-trained interpreter with more than three decades of experience interpreting, training, and designing curricula.

Key Presenters included:

  • Dr Zara Latif, MD, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • Chris Kirwan, PhD, Director of Interpreter Services, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Aleece McKnight, Esq
  • Carla Fogaren, RN, Certified ADA Consultant
  • Rachel Herring, PhD, University of Minnesota
  • Vonessa Costa, CCHI, Certification Commissioner, Sr. Director of Quality & Member Engagement for the Health Care Interpreter Network
  • Andy Schweiter, Director of Language Access Services, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital
  • Andrea Henry, CHI Healthcare Interpreter & Researcher
  • Yilu Ma, MS, MA, CMI, Director of Interpreter Services, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Deborah Darveau, RN, BSN, Brigham and Women’s Hospital
  • Paul Bail, PhD, Clinical Psychologist

During the conference, the 2023 Tony Winsor Award was presented to Zarita Araujo-Lane,MSW, LICSW,president and founder of Cross Cultural Communications, LLC, based in Massachusetts. Araujo-Lane has 25 plus years of experience and is recognized as one of the leading presenters on cross-cultural communication tools for large and small education and healthcare organizations.

Workshops at the event included Implicit Bias and Interpreting in Health Care; Dual Language and Translated Prescription Labels; and Making a Difference: How to Contribute to the Professionalization of Interpreting.

Event sponsors included:

  • Platinum Sponsor – AMN Healthcare Language Services
  • Gold Sponsors -Certified Languages International, Language Line Solutions, MasterWord Institute, Interpreters and Translators, Inc.
  • Silver Sponsors -International Translation Company
  • Bronze Sponsors -Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters, National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters

Flavia Perry, director of interpreter services at the Center for Health Impact (forefront). Front row kneeling from left to right: Silvana Kirby, director of the medical program at Berkshire Area Health Education Center & Diego Marroquin, medical interpreter. Last row from left to right: Laisson DeSouza, assistant director of interpreter services at the Center for Health Impact; Gricelle Cruz, medical interpreter; Bindiya Jha, interpreter training manager at Found in Translation; Elena Langdon, director of MasterWord Institute and of training & assessments at MasterWord; and Lisa Morris, director of cross cultural initiatives at ForHealth Consulting.

Sitting at desk, left to right: Silvana Kirby, director of the Medical Program at Berkshire Area Health Education Center and Flavia Perry, director of interpreter services at the Center for Health Impact. On screen, right to left: Christopher Kirwan, director of interpreter services at Massachusetts General Hospital and Diego Marroquin, medical interpreter.

On screen from left to right: ASL interpreter for the event; Lisa Morris, director of cross cultural initiatives at ForHealth Consulting and Lisa Colombo, executive vice chancellor at ForHealth Consulting.