The NCIEC set out to lay the foundation for development of curriculum and instructional programs in the specialization areas of medical and mental health and substance abuse interpreting. The work began in 2006 as two separate initiatives led by the CATIE Center at St. Catherine University and the Regional Interpreter Education Center at Northeastern University, respectively. Each team engaged groups of experts and other stakeholders to identify the issues, review relevant curricula and literature on spoken and signed language interpreting, and draft domains and competencies upon which to build instructional programs. Drafts of the domains and competencies for each area were reviewed by Deaf and hearing interpreters.
Each team sought to gather additional data that would lead to identification of effective practices in preparing interpreters for these specialized areas of interpreting. The medical interpreting team collected further data through a survey and focus groups. A protocol for focus groups and a survey form were designed with input from experts in this type of data collection. Eleven focus groups were conducted during the spring and summer of 2007 in eight different states, representing all regions of the United States. As part of the focus group process, participants were asked to complete a survey. Focus groups included hearing and d/Deaf medical interpreters from diverse backgrounds, as well as Deaf and Deafblind consumers. An evaluation of current medical interpreting course offerings was also conducted. Meanwhile, the mental health and substance abuse team interviewed eight administrators and educators providing instruction and learning resources on interpreting in mental health and substance abuse settings.
In 2007, having identified a core of competencies common to both medical and mental healthcare interpreting, the two initiatives consolidated their efforts. The team developed a concept map for eight instructional modules addressing both the common core and distinctive features of medical and mental healthcare interpreting. We developed the module on ethical decision-making and offered it online to a cohort of 18 students as a BETA test.
The centerpiece of the NCIEC’s work in the area of healthcare interpreting is the healthcareinterpreting.org website, first launched in 2003 by the CATIE Center at St. Catherine University and expanded from 2006 to 2010 through the efforts and support of the NCIEC Healthcare Interpreting work team. Here, interpreting practitioners and educators, healthcare providers, and patients can find helpful resources in text and video.
Visit healthcareinterpreting.org often to find new products and learning opportunities.