August 27, 2013

Medical interpreter program to be offered in Cass County.

Medical interpreter training to be offered in Cass County

By Amie Sites Pharos-Tribune

---- — For the first time in Cass County, Bridging the Gap, a medical interpreter program, will be offered.

Enrollment for the 40-hour training course is open to 25 individuals and enrollment deadline is Sept. 13. Basic interpreting skills, health-care information, culture in interpreting and communication skills for advocacy and professional development will be included.

Area Health Education Center (AHEC) is sponsoring the program, which is a collaboration with St. Vincent Health and the Cross Cultural Health program.

The program is designed for healthcare professionals, health profession students and bilingual individuals in Cass and surrounding counties, said Jeremy Ashcraft, executive director oft he North Central Indiana AHEC.

“We’re offering an opportunity to gain additional employable skills,” Ashcraft said. “Anytime additional employable skills are offered, it’s a good thing. I think it’s a great opportunity for Cass and surrounding counties.”

Ashcraft said as he understands it, the state doesn’t require medical interpreters to be certified, but the certification would offer those who obtain it to have a leg up on the competition.

The program was offered earlier this year in Clinton County and if it goes well, Ashcraft said he hopes to have another in Tippecanoe County.

Language proficiency tests will be given Sept. 25 to 27 at Logansport Ivy Tech campus. Each test will take about 40 minutes and those who take it are required to pass with an 80 percent, Ashcraft said.

”I think the cross-cultural training is important,” Ashcraft said.

The Bridging the Gap program will be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 1 to 3 and 9 to 10 at Logansport Memorial Hospital. The program will be offered to anyone who can pass the proficiency tests in Cass and surrounding counties, Ashcraft said. There is a $100 program free.

North Central Indiana AHEC, rural health education program funded through Indiana University School of Family Medicine, covers 11 counties.

There are three medical interpreters at Logansport Memorial Hospital, Dave Ameen, president and CEO of Logansport Memorial Hospital said. All three interpreters are certified, Ameen said.

”You can’t provide good care if you can’t communicate properly,” Ameen said.

”If you don’t understand your physician or your physician doesn’t understand you, it’s going to affect the care you get,” Ashcraft said. “It all comes down to communication. Facial expressions and body language can only get you so far.”

When someone completes the program, the participant will receive a certificate of competition.

The program can only accept 25 participants and Ashcraft has already received six registration forms. To find out more about the program, contact Ashcraft at 574-223-2212 or

Amie Sites is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5117 or

Upcoming dates Sept. 13: Enrollment deadline Sept. 25-27: Language proficiency tests at Logansport Ivy Tech campus Nov. 1-3, 9-10: Bridging the Gap program from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Logansport Memorial Hospital Cost: The program costs $100. For more information, contact Jeremy Ashcraft at 574-223-2212 or