Medical Interpretation: Spanish Certificate Addresses Local Need

July 12, 2017 - 13:12

A new Medical Interpretation: Spanish Certificate Program launches this fall and is open for registration. Effective communication between health care providers and their patients is key to successfully serving Nevada’s Spanish speaking families, work force, and tourists. Certified Medical Interpreters break down language and cultural barriers to ensure accurate, timely, effective diagnosis and medical treatment. Medical interpreters also play a key role in patient education; in addition to communicating important information during medical visits, they may also be asked to translate written materials including brochures, web content, and care instructions.

If the local medical community is to effectively serve both the local and visiting populations, the demand for medical interpreters will continue to grow. In fact, employment of interpreters in Nevada is expected to grow of 41 percent over the next ten years. UNLV’s new Medical Interpretation: Spanish program is the only in-person medical interpretation certificate in Southern Nevada that fulfills the requirements to sit for national certification exams offered by the industry’s two certification bodies—the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters or the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreting. National certification assures employers that interpreters not only understand the linguistic aspects of the job, but also the cultural differences that may impact doctor-patient relationships.

UNLV’s certificate program is five courses. Introduction to Medical Interpretation and Medical Terminology and Specialties will be offered in the fall, followed by Medical Terminology and Specialties II, Medical Consecutive Interpreting, and Medical Simultaneous Interpreting and Sight Translation in the spring. If you are fluent in both English and Spanish and are looking for a rewarding career in health care, attend a free information session or call Continuing Education for more information.

Program instructors Alvaro Vergara-Mery and David Loaiza-Funk both have extensive experience bridging language barriers between Las Vegas medical providers and their Spanish-speaking patients. Vergara-Mery is a Certified Medical Interpreter and licensed trainer in the Cultural and Linguistic Services Department at University Medical Center (UMC). He is in charge of interpreter education and training, language proficiency, cultural competence, translation, and curriculum design. He received the California Healthcare Interpreters Association’s 2016 Trainer of the Year Award and will serve as adjunct faculty at the new UNLV School of Medicine.

David Loaiza-Funk serves as the Chair of the Diversity Committee for American College of Healthcare Executives’ Nevada Chapter and is Director of Cultural and Linguistic Services at UMC. He has a master’s degree in health care administration as well as dual certification in medical/health care interpreting and a black belt in Lean Six Sigma for quality improvement. Loaiza-Funk is currently starting the Nevada Caucus through the National Association of Latino Healthcare Executives.