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Qualified Bilingual Staff Program

Clear and effective patient-provider communication is critical to each and every medical encounter. Differences in language and culture, when not addressed, may potentially lead to miscommunication between patients and providers, resulting in misunderstandings, medical errors, loss of information, and poor shared-decision making. Providing linguistically and culturally appropriate healthcare services is central to providing high quality care, and is associated with achieving improved patient outcomes.

The Qualified Bilingual Staff (QBS) training program was developed to increase our capability to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services to Limited English Proficient (LEP) patients and their families. The program targets bilingual, dual role staff and trains them in proper interpreting skills during a medical encounter. The program consists of a three-day (24-hour) training that includes modules on the following:

  • Ethics of Interpreting
  • Legal and Regulatory Requirements
  • Medical Terminology
  • Cultural Competency & Diversity
  • Modes of Interpretation
  • Managing the Session
  • Transparency in a Patient-Provider Relationship
  • Cultural Broker Role
  • Demonstration of Interpreting Skills
  • Interpretation Standards of Practice

Certification Process

  1. Submit a formal application via fax or email. See below for how to obtain an application.
  2. Attend the entire 3-day (24-hour) Qualified Bilingual Staff training.
  3. Take an over-the-phone assessment that will determine the candidate’s level of language competency in both English and their language of service (LOS). Upon successfully passing the test, participants become certified as either QBS Level 1 or Level 2:
    • Level 1 - QBS employees can interpret for conversational/customer service encounters only (e.g. reception, billing).
    • Level 2 - QBS employees can provide language assistance in various clinical settings where understanding of medical terminology concepts is required (e.g. exam room).

Languages

Currently, 15 non-English languages may be assessed as part of the training:

Amharic French Russian
Arabic Japanese Spanish
Armenian Korean Tagalog
Cantonese Mandarin Vietnamese
Farsi Portuguese Khmer (Cambodian)

Certified Trainers

Our certified trainers for the QBS training program are:

  • Ayesha Anwar
  • Talya Frelick, MPH
  • Marilyn Lynk, PhD
  • Emeobong Martin, MPH
  • Deidre Washington, PhD

Register for QBS Training

Register for our QBS Training Program by faxing the registration form to the Center for Health Equity and Wellness at 301-315-3135 or emailing it to Zaena Tessema. If you have any questions, please call Ayesha Anwar at 301-315-3126.

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Cultural Competence

As the diversity of our community continues to change, providing health care that is culturally sensitive goes to the heart of our mission as an organization.