CCHI Completes One-Year Project Made Possible Through a Grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to Expand CHI(TM) Certifications

CCHINatalya Mytareva, 234-206-1995ChairorMara Youdelman, J.D., 202-423-9001CommissionerorGo to

CCHI Commissioners announce the completion of a one-year program of work that developed the Certified Healthcare Interpreter™ examination in two additional languages in which healthcare interpreters interpret and conducted educational activities to help interpreters, interpreter trainers, supervisors, healthcare providers and other stakeholders in the healthcare area understand how to use CCHI certifications appropriately. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation awarded a $308,750 grant to CCHI on July 1, 2011 to develop, pilot test, validate and launch the Certified Healthcare Interpreter™ (CHI™) examination in Arabic and Mandarin. The next testing window for all CCHI examinations will be July 16 through August 4, 2012. Interpreters who interpret in Arabic, Mandarin and Spanish, have completed the online application through the CCHI website and received a notice from CCHI that they qualify to take the exam, are now ready to schedule their CHI™ exam.

Because the CHI™ performance exam requires a special set up for undisturbed interpretation, spoken aloud, CCHI makes arrangements for testing rooms during certain testing "windows" each quarter to offer the exam. For a list of testing locations, go to the .

Healthcare interpreter certification is a complex process made more difficult by linguistic content and diverse cultural issues affecting test performance. Because the largest number of people over the age of five speaking a language other than English at home is Spanish-speaking, 61.9% according to the Migration Policy Institute, CCHI developed the first national professional certification that they offer in Spanish. The expansion of CCHI’s certification programs into more languages, to serve more patient communities was made possible by this grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

CCHI determined the next two languages by using census data, responses to current CCHI exams, survey of stakeholders, and advice from experts in healthcare interpreting. “The largest group after Spanish-speaking patients is speakers of Mandarin Chinese, and the significant rise in immigrants and refugees from the Arabic language countries made our choice clear for the next two CHI™ certifications,” said Natalya Mytareva, CCHI Chair.

Associate Healthcare Interpreter™ (AHI™) exam is the entry point into professional certification for healthcare interpreters regardless of the language(s) in which they interpret. Once a healthcare interpreter passes the AHI™ exam, they are eligible to apply for a language-specific certification in one or more languages in which they interpret. Mara Youdelman, J.D., CCHI Commissioner, said, “The timing is critical for going further with certification, into as many languages as possible with the same level of credibility, validity and adherence to accreditation requirements set forth by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).”

Skilled and trained interpreters are essential to effective communication that ensures the provision of high-quality care to racial and ethnic minorities, and are critical in the effort to reduce health care disparities. Yet many limited English proficient (LEP) patients are not provided with competent interpreters and often rely on family members, friends, and untrained bilingual staff. According to the U.S. Census, more than 25 million people speak English less than very well and may be considered LEP. Healthcare providers report:

Healthcare interpreter certification addresses the critical language barriers that limited-English proficient patients experience as they access health care. With the implementation of certification, healthcare providers can expect to see improved patient outcomes and better patient satisfaction.

CCHI, a 501(c)(6) organization whose mission is to develop and direct a comprehensive credentialing program for healthcare interpreters, brings together representatives from national and regional non-profit interpreting associations, language companies, community-based organizations, educational institutions, healthcare providers, and advocates for LEP individuals. CCHI’s Associate Healthcare Interpreter™ (AHI™) credential is the entry point into professional certification for healthcare interpreters regardless of the language(s) in which they interpret. Once a healthcare interpreter passes the AHI™ exam they are eligible to sit for the Certified Healthcare Interpreter™ (CHI™) examination, an oral performance exam that tests consecutive and simultaneous interpreting plus sight translation in one or more languages in which they interpret. The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) granted accreditation to CCHI in June 2012 for demonstrating compliance with the NCCA Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Program.