Dear CCHI Community and Friends,
Writing this Winter Holiday and end of year greeting to you all is a bittersweet experience for me. Sweet, because I get to share with you all the amazing accomplishments of CCHI over the past year and the projects coming in 2023. Bitter, not only for the concerning state of our planet and the war in Ukraine, but also because this will be my last holiday greeting as CCHI Chair. The Commission and Executive Committee of CCHI is based on the spirit of rotation, we serve you for a maximum of two 3-year terms, and next October my terms as the Chair and Commissioner end. This is a very important policy that keeps CCHI fresh and vibrant as new people and new ideas are constantly enriching the board. We are like an ocean liner changing crew members on a regular basis, and yet, with our amazing captain Natalya Mytareva keeping us on course towards the port of professionalization of healthcare interpreting.
It’s the holiday season, so let’s start with the sweet part…
In 2022, CCHI achieved reaccreditation for the CHI-Spanish certification from the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). So once again, CCHI is the only: National, Accredited, Vendor Neutral and 100% Inclusive (read on…) certification option for healthcare interpreters. National accreditation is part of our marrow, and I want to assure all of you who have worked so hard to achieve the CCHI stamp of approval that we will never do anything to undermine or undervalue our NCCA accreditation. That is your CCHI guarantee!!!
This year we also completed one of the main obligations to maintain our NCCA accreditation: the national Job Task Analysis (JTA). The JTA is our opportunity to learn from you the current pulse of our profession and guide future certification exam efforts to best match the requirements of the entry-level professional healthcare interpreter. Without a JTA, we would be testing and certifying interpreters blindfolded, with no guidance from you – the professionals working day in and day out in our hospitals and clinics.
The CCHI ocean liner picked up its 5,000th passenger in 2022, and at the moment of writing this greeting, every one of us has 5,000+ colleagues who have earned their CCHI professional credentials. Every year we are picking up more and more passengers, but no worries, we have plenty of room on this ship.
In 2022, we all have seen continued prioritization of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives nation-wide, many of them focusing on healthcare interpreting and equity of care for patients with limited English proficiency. Likewise, CCHI is laser-focused on our professional colleagues who do not yet have a skills-based certification. Our project to determine if interpreting skills can be assessed with an English-to-English (ETOE™) exam began under our previous Chair, Margarita Bekker, and continued under the guidance of Chair Idolly Oliva, my predecessor. I have the enormous honor to see the positive results of that research and the launch of our new CoreCHI-Performance™ certification. The first of its kind: a knowledge and skill-based certification for healthcare interpreters of ALL LANGUAGES.
I am so proud and humbled by the gargantuan efforts of CCHI and all the interpreters who agreed to take both the oral Spanish, Arabic, Mandarin skills exams along with the ETOE™ exam. Without their participation, our psychometricians would not have been able to verify the interpreting skills that can be assessed on an English exam. I can think of no greater contribution to the health equity of all patients, regardless of the language they speak, than to know that their interpreter is backed by the credentials of CCHI certification.
We did not and cannot do this alone. To be successful with this endeavor we will need the help of healthcare systems, medical centers, and hospitals – big and small – to require and support certification for their staff interpreters of all languages. We will need Language Service Providers to advertise and prioritize their certified interpreters. And most of all, we will need YOU to sign up for the new certification test and spread the word. To this end, we will be hosting a virtual New Credential Launch Summit in February 2023 to officially kick off the new CoreCHI-Performance certification. Please don’t miss it!!
Creating a new knowledge- and skills-based certification is very time consuming and expensive, but so very important to all of CCHI’s stakeholders. CCHI takes our fiscal responsibilities very seriously and manages the budget for long-term stability. If you are in a situation where you can donate this holiday season, please consider supporting CCHI in our efforts of equity and inclusion for all languages (donate at https://cchi.formstack.com/forms/2022_cchi_giving).
Another way to support CCHI directly is with your certification renewal. Certification is not just passing tests; it is an ongoing and active process of professional advancement. So, to all of you who renewed your certification in 2022… THANK YOU!! To those who will renew in 2023, remember this is another way you directly support CCHI and your profession.
Finally, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for everything you do to promote health equity for all patients and for your ongoing support of CCHI. I hope I have served CCHI over these past years as well as CCHI has served all of us as certified healthcare interpreters.
May you have the happiest 2022 Winter Holiday, and may 2023 bring healing to our climate and our politics, and a consciousness shift from investing in warfare to investing in human well-being.
Mateo C. Rutherford-Rojas