At Massachusetts Medical Interpreter Training, we integrate cultural awareness and competency principles throughout our courses for beginning and advanced medical interpreters. We believe, however, that employees at all levels and in all positions of healthcare organizations should understand and be able to apply these concepts.

Our cultural awareness consulting services are designed to help organizations achieve the goals of completely and consistently meeting the needs of diverse patient populations, especially those not fluent in English, and supporting the efforts of medical interpreters. We work in collaboration with the UMass Chan Medical School program that has expertise in the area.

Needs assessment and training

We begin by performing comprehensive language access and need assessments. This can include multiple components, such as:

  • Employee and board member interviews
  • Policy and procedure review
  • Observations of patient interactions
  • Summary report of opportunities and recommendations for improving cultural awareness

Upon completion of the assessment, we provide staff training on cultural awareness issues and proven strategies for addressing them. This training includes the following elements:

  • Community assessment of language group needs
  • Internal assessment of institutional needs
  • Assessment of compliance with the U.S. Office of Minority Health’s standards on culturally and linguistically appropriate services
  • Creation of a system for putting interpreter services into operation
  • Training and competency measures
  • Evaluation

Our training sessions, customized to meet the needs of the particular organization and employee audience, cover a variety of topics:

  • How culture affects a person’s view of healthcare
  • Cultural beliefs that might clash with traditional healthcare views
  • How to effectively work with an interpreter