Working Voices: Elevating Health Care Interpretation in Oregon

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... are some of the key findings from a research study conducted by OHCIA, thanks to a grant from the Oregon Community Foundation

As independent contractors, HCIs are isolated and often face difficulties due to lack of language-specific training support, and in coping with conflicting agency and provider policies.

96 Health Care Interpreters Interviewed


Once you get qualified, you get fewer calls because you are more expensive, unless the provider makes the demand for a qualified interpreter".


20 Language group communities represented

"I find that judges will be respectful, but on the flip side, some doctors and especially nurses, are not, and call me “just the interpreter”. I was educated at Columbia, Ivy League".



To access the complete research study report, visit OHCIA's website by clicking the "Working Voices Full Report" button below.






OSTI will host an interactive meeting on Tuesday, January 23.
The subject of the conversation is "Ethical Dilemmas for Interpreters”. We will discuss various types of scenarios interpreters face in the professional settings.

There is a parking garage underneath the building and a large parking lot across the street.
Space is limited to 25 people, please sign up in advance.
This event is free, it is open to all OSTI members and the general public.
No CEUs are offered for this event.

We welcome your participation and look forward to analyzing problems and sharing our solutions.

Tue, January 23, 2018

5:30 PM – 7:30 PM PST


Easy access to the Application for Oregon Certification and Qualification


So you completed your 64 hour training, what's next?!?

Don't stop there, complete the healthcare application to get your process started with the Oregon Health Authority to achieve your qualification or certification with the state.

The online application is located at the Oregon Health Authority Office of Equity and Inclusion's website.

If you try opening the application from your web browser, you will get the following error message: 

"Please wait...

If this message is not eventually replaced by the proper contents of the document, your PDF viewer may not be able to display this type of document. You can upgrade to the latest version of Adobe Reader for Windows®, Mac, or Linux® by visiting"

If you get this, don't panic!  Although there are instructions that you can follow to fix the problem, we have done the work for you and you can now access the application and program requirements by simply clicking the buttons below!

If you have any further questions about the application, we suggest you call Kweku Wilson at the Office of Equity and Inclusion: 971-673-3328

Oregon Health Care Interpreters Association is awarded with a grant from the Kaiser Permanente Community Fund




Portland, Oregon, January 16, 2017 – The Oregon Health Care Interpreters Association (OHCIA), a nonprofit entity under the laws of the State of Oregon, was founded April 4, 2011 with the goal of promoting and furthering the advancement of the health care interpreter profession.


As Oregon and the United States as a whole becomes more linguistically diverse, working with professional, trained, and certified interpreters in health care settings is more important than ever. It is well documented that Limited English Proficient (LEP) patients have difficulty accessing medical care and have poorer health outcomes than the population at large.


OHCIA represents the professional interests of health care interpreters and promote cooperation with government agencies, consumers and other bodies on matters which concern those interests. OHCIA works to maintain and advance high standards of professional ethics, practices, and competence by supporting educational efforts of health care interpreters and by preserving their professional rights. In addition, OHCIA serves as a resource center for the collection, sharing, and dissemination of information for health care interpreters, health care providers, and the public at large.


Through a grant from the Kaiser Permanente Community Fund at Northwest Health Foundation, OHCIA will be able to implement the creation and development of the Pacific Northwest Interpreter Hub. The HUB will bring together partners to increase quality and consistency in the field of health care interpreting, improve economic opportunity and quality of life for interpreters, and reduced health disparities for patients with limited English proficiency. The HUB represents a shared partner commitment to breaking down silos and better aligning collective efforts to improve service quality, better support practitioners, increase career opportunities, and impact patient outcomes. Health care interpreters will receive assistance in reaching their professional development goals including discounted training rates, access to financial hardship scholarships, and the support of a master interpreter who will guide them through the certification process and career development. In addition, member interpreters will have their information included in the Hub portal, which will be utilized by language services agencies for job placement.

The mission of Northwest Health Foundation is to advance, support and promote the health of the people in Oregon and Southwest Washington. By joining with communities that face the biggest barriers to health, we can create strategies that improve the lives of everyone.

More information at:

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and nonprofit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 10 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia, including more than 540,000 medical and 250,000 dental members in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, dentists, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical and dental teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to:  


Contact Information:

Susy Molano, Executive Director

Oregon Health Care Interpreters Association

Tel: (503) 888-0657

FAX: (503) 675-6421



New in 2017: the Pacific Northwest Interpreters Hub

The Hub is about bringing all the interpreters in the Pacific Northwest 
together to create AS A TEAM innovative ways to improve access to 
training, development, and professionalization in order to increase work 
opportunities (especially for refugees, asylees and immigrants).

But most important of all, the Hub exists because we care for the safety 
of our patients and communities.


For now, we encourage you to:

-Let other people know about the hub
-Register for the 64 hour training offered in January, 2017, if you 
haven't yet taken the class (I will include a link)
-Pursue qualification / certification with the State of Oregon
- If you are already qualified or certified, take our 24 hour continue 
education classes required to renew your credential. (I will include a 
-Thrive to be the best you can be
-Help others that are coming behind you
-Be attentive for more news about the Hub

Five Great New Year’s Resolutions for Oregon Interpreters

With a fresh, new start in 2017 just around the corner, we would like to encourage all interpreters to consider some great New Year’s Resolution goals!

1.    Set aside some time in January to reflect on how you are doing as an interpreter, and how you can improve. 
Providing language access to those who need it is deeply rewarding, but it can also be mentally and emotionally taxing. Ask yourself:  What energizes me the most about this work?  What is challenging for me?  Where could I improve in my skills and knowledge?  What support, coaching, or training do I need in 2017 to be a more effective interpreter?

2.    Register for an interpreter training to improve your skills. 
Pursing education will provide you with great opportunities to further your career.  Whether a 60 hour health care interpreter training, or a continuing education course if you are already qualified or certified as health care interpreter, check out the courses that we have:

64 Hour Health Care Interpreter Training, starting on Saturday, January 21st

Continuing Education Course (modules offered in January)

3.    If you aren’t already Oregon certified or qualified as a health care interpreter, figure out your next step. 
Becoming certified or qualified will increase your opportunities for career growth in the interpreter profession.  Learn more about the requirements from the Oregon Health Authority Office of Equity and Inclusion here.

4.    Find ways to get more involved! 

Volunteer to interpreter at a low-income medical clinic, such as Clackamas Volunteers in Medicine in Oregon City. 

Or take the initiative, and form a skills practice group with other interpreters you know.  Consider volunteering with us; learn more here.

5.    Visit our website or call the Office Equity and Inclusion for questions about health care interpreting.  

Kweku Wilson is a great contact: 971-673-3328

We wish you the best in 2017!

Great Reasons to Become a Health Care Interpreter

Wondering if becoming a health care interpreter is worth it?

We encourage you to check out this refreshing article from Caduceus on
"Seven Reasons to be Grateful You're a Medical Interpreter this Holiday

Enjoy, and post your thoughts!

Dedicated Board Member Maria Michalczyk Retires

After years of tireless service to quality language access in Oregon and in the nation, OHCIA Board Member, Treasurer, & Training Director Maria Michalczyk has decided to step down.

Her legacy to the health care interpreter professional community goes far beyond the OHCIA. Maria managed interpreters at the Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), taught interpreters at Portland Community College, played pivotal roles in the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters and the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care, and actively sought legislative changes for health care interpreters. 

While at the OHCIA, Maria built and directed the Health Care Interpreter Training Program, a 60 hour training that has trained over 500 interpreters and offered over $33,000 in financial hardship and language of lesser diffusion scholarships.  She also took on the time consuming role of treasurer, and faithfully handled the OHCIA's finances for over three years.  

Moving forward, Maria will continue her work as the branch manager of Coram Specialty Infusion Services in Tigard, Oregon.

 Thank you Maria for your service!

ASTM: A framework for teamwork and quality in interpreting and translation

Dear Stakeholders,

We are happy to inform you that the Oregon Society of Translators and Interpreters (OSTI) is organizing an important presentation on American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards on May 19, 2016 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 pm at the Oregon Health Authority Transformation Center Conference Room, 421 SW Oak St., Suite 775, Portland, OR 97204.

Further Information on this presentation is available from the link below.

We hope to see you at this presentation.

Upcoming CCHI and NBCMI Webinars

Online, Free Webinars to Get Information About the Written and Oral Exams for Certification as a Health Care Interpreter

Note: the exams offered by CCHI and NBCMI are for interpreters looking to get certified as a health care interpreter in Oregon (certification is only available for Arabic, Cantonese, Korean, Mandarin, Russian, Spanish, and Vietnamese).  Getting certified is great way to improve compensation and hiring opportunities as a interpreter.  For all requirements of Oregon certification (and qualification), visit our website.

CCHI Webinar

Please register for the webinar "Logistics of the national certification exams by CCHI" on May 7, 2016 12:00 PM PDT at:

Join us to learn how to prepare for the CoreCHI "written" and CHI oral exams and what to expect at the testing site on the exam day.

CoreCHI exam tests the interpreter's professional knowledge regardless of the language of interpreting as well as their critical thinking and ethical decision-making skills and abilities.

CHI exam measures the interpreter's language-specific skills in the consecutive, simultaneous and sight translation modes. The CHI exam is currently available in Spanish, Arabic and Mandarin,

Both CCHI's exams are full certifications at the national level and are accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

NBCMI Webinar (already occurred on April 24th)

If you missed it, you can always check out a recorded webinar: