MassHealth, UMass Medical School to sponsor 11th annual medical interpreters conference June 10

June 08, 2016

Medical interpreters from throughout New England can choose from 15 workshops, including one on understanding the Zika virus, and listen to a keynote on serving vulnerable populations at the 11th annual Paving the Way to Health Care Access Conference June 10 at the Courtyard Marriott in Marlborough.

The conference provides a day of learning for medical interpreters and the health care teams working with them. The annual event is sponsored by MassHealth, Massachusetts’ Medicaid program, and the Massachusetts Area Health Education Center (MassAHEC) Network, a unit within UMass Medical School’s Commonwealth Medicine division.

“This regional conference continues to grow in popularity since it serves the continuing needs for interpreters with topics that are timely and relevant to changes in health care. Interpreters are now nationally certified and this conference helps them maintain their certification,” said Lisa Morris, MSTD, MassAHEC director of Cross Cultural Initiatives. 

The keynote speaker, David Scales, MD, PhD, a resident physician in internal medicine at Cambridge Health Alliance, will address the issues of dealing with vulnerable populations and how to best serve as an interpreter during an interaction with clients who don’t speak English to improve access and patient outcomes. Dr. Scales is a trained medical interpreter and writer.

The conference will feature 15 workshops throughout the day. Topics include: Interpreting in Psychotherapy, Understanding the Zika Virus, Interpreting during a Family Meeting, All About Organ Donation, and Interpreting during Clinical Trials.

Jane Kontrimas, a medical interpreter and trainer of interpreters at Beth Israel Medical Center, will be the second recipient of the Tony Winsor Award. The award, which was first presented at the Paving the Way conference last year, honors a person who, like Tony Winsor, has advocated for professionalizing the work of a medical interpreter to improve language access for all. Winsor was a lawyer who worked for passage of the Massachusetts Emergency Room Interpreter Bill, which was signed into law in 2000. The law mandates hospitals that provide acute care in emergency rooms or acute psychiatric services provide competent interpreter services when treating patients who don’t speak English. The statute led to the effort to professionalize medical interpreters and improve access to quality care for patients who are not proficient in English.

About 250 are expected to attend the conference.

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