REACH/Alcance Program partner with agencies to create new medical interpreter course

2011-05-19_ReachFrom left to right front row: Maria Schwieter, Susana Jimenez, Jessica Starkey, Isabel Reyes, Mary Ellen Castello, Maria Anaya, Noemi Orellana, Carmen Vazquez, Lillian Torres ; From left to right back row: Brenda Osoria, Jose Valtierra, Bilke Rode, Sylvia Morrisroe, Maria Watkins

Contributed by Lillian Torres REACH/Alcance Program and Coalition;


HAMMOND | On March 18, the REACH/Alcance Program in partnership with AHEC (Area Health Education Center) and HealthVisions Midwest held a 5-week Medical Interpreter course at the Purdue University Learning Center in Crown Point, IN.

Thirteen area Healthcare Workers & Medical Technicians were trained in Medical Terminology for the purpose of providing Medical Interpreting for their prospective agencies in the Spanish and sustainability of language availability.


The curriculum consists of the basic requirements to become a professional English/Spanish medical interpreter. The Instructor, Maria Schwieter, is a RN, BSN, MSE, BTG, and the Spanish Interpreter/Educator at IU Health La Porte Hospital.

A variety of topics were covered including the National Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics as dictated by the National Coalition Interpreters Health Care. The students learned about the cultural aspects of interpreting, memory training, folk medicine, note taking, basic anatomy, physiology, medical terminology, roles of the interpreter, and the purpose of the medical interpreter. This course is designed for people who wish to learn how to become Medical Interpreters for Spanish/English.

The course duration is 40 hours of classroom training.

REACH/Alcance: Racial Ethnic Approaches to Community Health for Lake County Purpose/Mission Statement is to improve the health of all racial and ethnic populations in Indiana through increased awareness, partnerships, and the development and promotion of effective health policies and programs that help to reduce minority health disparities.

In addition, the office: Coordinates, facilitates, and monitors community-based program tailored to meet the needs of these populations. Ensures that health related issues become part of the agendas of outside programs as they relate to underserved populations.

Maintains open dialogue with outside agencies in an effort to keep abreast of concerns, trends and problems as seen by these agencies which will assist in identifying gaps, barriers and duplication in services.

This article was originally published in The Northwest Indiana Times.