WASHINGTON October 29, 2015—The national Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI) announced the commencement of a three-year term for seven new Commissioners this month. CCHI is a professional certification organization acting in the public interest by establishing the national certification standards and requirements for healthcare interpreters.
|CCHI Commissioners. Left to right, Front: Eliana Lobo, Alejandro Maldonado; Middle: Mina Kini, Margarita Bekker, Gabriela Flores, Scott Crystal; Back: Idolly Fajardo, Edna Quartey, Jorge Ungo. Other Commissioners, absent from the photo: Linda Golley, Teresa Salazar, Lee Williams.|
The new Commissioners are Scott Crystal, Idolly Fajardo Rodriguez, Linda Golley, Mina Kini, Eliana Lobo, Jorge U. Ungo, and Lee D. Williams. They represent various professional and industry stakeholder groups of healthcare interpreting and the public who come together to inform CCHI’s policies, strategies and decisions.
Earlier in October, CCHI honored and thanked the six founding Commissioners who completed their second term at its in-person session in Chicago. Shiva Bidar-Sielaff, Kathleen Diamond, Jonathan Levy, Virginia Perez-Santalla, Karin Ruschke, and Mara Youdelman have been among the thirteen Commissioners who founded CCHI in July 2009 with the vision to establish a national, valid, credible and vendor-neutral certification program for healthcare interpreters.
Kathleen Diamond, M.A., exiting Vice Chair of CCHI, summed up their reasons for establishing the Commission, “I became frustrated by the market’s lack of appreciation for the value of the role of the trained linguist. I strove to educate my clients, my cohorts, my staff, and my advisors on what I saw as essential to excellence in language services: professionalism. The key of course, is standards and certification. Thus, I supported the grassroots efforts to create a national certification program, and I was eager to serve as a founding member on the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters from 2009 to 2015.”
After six years of CCHI’s existence and with over 2,100 certified interpreters throughout the U.S., the national certification program has a solid foundation and balanced infrastructure. However, there is plenty of room for growth. "It is no longer good enough to simply provide interpreting services in health care,” states CCHI’s Chair Elect, Margarita Bekker, CoreCHI™ and Lead Russian Interpreter in the Education and Training Department at Stanford University Medical Center. “Now is the time to provide higher quality service that all patients and providers deserve. The Commissioners will continue to educate healthcare and health administrators that national certification, either at the professional knowledge CoreCHI™ level or the language-specific performance CHI™ level, is an important part of quality control and professional development for healthcare interpreters."
Linda Golley, M.A., CCHI’s newly elected Vice Chair, Manager of Interpreter Services at University of Washington Medical Center, comments on another aspect of the Commission’s work, “As the process of certifying medical interpreters becomes the norm, CCHI can grow its offerings in continuing education, driving improvement across the profession rather than simply measuring the attainment of individuals.”
The current Commissioners include practicing interpreters – both CoreCHI™ and CHI™-Spanish certificants, interpreter services managers and educators, healthcare executives, representatives of language services companies, a state language access coordinator, and an executive of a national refugee resettlement agency. To see the Commissioners’ affiliations and bios, go to “Our Team” section of CCHI’s website.