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FOR RELEASE: November 16 , 2005
CONTACT: Pamela Williams
Office of Communications

First State-Certified Health Service Interpreters Announced

Members of the first class to successfully complete the new Health Service Interpreter State Certification Program will be awarded their certifications by State Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Crutcher this Friday, Nov. 18, at 1 p.m. in Room 314 of the Oklahoma State Department of Health, 1000 NE 10th St., Oklahoma City.

The first class in Oklahoma to certify health interpreters was offered in October 2005. The program offers training and certifications to provide language interpretation services in all languages spoken in Oklahoma. There are only a handful of such programs in the United States.

“I wish to offer my congratulations to the individuals, and the organizations they represent, for having the vision to provide state-certified language interpreters for their patients and clients. They are the first-ever state-certified health interpreters in Oklahoma,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Crutcher.

“This is a historic occasion for Oklahoma and we are excited about being able to offer this service for our communities. Classes will continue to be offered throughout the year and we want to encourage every medical community to register at least one of their current eligible staff for future training sessions,” said Demetrio (JR) Gutierrez, Minority Health Liaison for the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Training covers medically specific terminology, the legal and ethical role of interpreters, patient safety, HIPAA regulations on confidentiality, and linguistic accuracy. Eligibility to enroll requires a minimum of a GED and the applicant must already be fluent in English and one other language. The applicant must also pass a required OSBI criminal background check.

Interpretation services are required as part of the Title VI Civil Rights Act of 1964, and are supported by the JCAHO hospital licensure organization. Interpretation services are also mandated for any medical organization receiving federal funding, pursuant to the Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Service (CLAS) mandates.

For more information about the certified medical interpreter program, contact Gutierrez in the state health department’s Office of Minority Health at (405) 271-1337.

The Institute for Issue Management and Alternative Dispute Resolution program at Oklahoma State University provides coordination and registration services for the health service interpreter certification program. For class registration information, contact The Institute at 1-800-248-5465 or 405-377-0033 or view this Web site: http://IIMADR.okstate.edu.

Editor’s Note:
State Certified Health Service Interpreters are:
1. Chantal L. Castro - Castro Interpreting and Translating Services
2. Cèsar A. Castro - Interpreter
3. Vivian Ramirez Ceberg - Oklahoma City Crisis Center
4. Sarahi Dambold - Oklahoma State Department of Health
5. Lisa Dean - Individual -Korean Interpreter
6. Francis García - Language Associates Inc.
7. Rita Harden - Language Associates Inc.
8. Martha Delfina López de Alcantar - OU Medical Center
9. Ruth Martino - Language Associates Inc.
10. Karla Mena de Pèrez - Oklahoma State Department of Health
11. María Velasquez-Mulino - OSU/Institute for Issue Management & ADR
12. Valdemar Sánchez - Saint Francis Hospital, Tulsa
13. Bivian L. Wood - MultiLingual Communication Services LLC
14. Gina Wozencraft - Creek County Health Department


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