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Health Care Interpreter Program
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A Health Care Interpreter Training Program is offered for bilingual individuals through the University of Memphis' School of Public Health. The program is the first in the US to be accredited by the International Medical Interpreter Association.

A new Health Care Interpreter class will be starting April 11. Registration and payment deadline is April 1, 2015 by 4:00 pm.

For detailed information about course requirements and admissions, please click here.  For course payment information, please click here.  Please click here for the registration form.

For more information please contact Ms. Espi Ralston at or call (901) 218-4691.

Information about the Health Care Interpreter Training Program

The Health Care Interpreter Training Program is a specialized educational program offered several times during the year, on three consecutive weekends. The course is administered by the University of Memphis' School of Public Health. It is an intensive and comprehensive course, with modules that cover the basis of medical interpreting such as the roles of the interpreter, modes of interpreting, the protocols of the session, cultural competence, medical terminology, basic Anatomy, Code of Ethics, and laws, standards and regulations relevant to healthcare interpreting, to cite a few.

The course curriculum and materials have been developed by Kaiser Permanente in partnership with Hablamos Juntos, a nationally recognized project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to increase the number and improve the knowledge and skills of medical interpreters nationwide. The training consists of forty (40) hours of class instruction at the University of Memphis, and a ten (10) hour practicum at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Methodist University Hospital and/or the Med. It is based on active and cooperative learning, and enhanced by visual materials and other instructional and learning tools. Ninety-nine percent (99%) of the students have graduated from the training. Each student receives a document of attendance and completion, corresponding to 50 hours of education at Level I and II respectively, depending on the level that they take.

Some of the former students currently work as medical interpreters and coordinators of interpreter services at St. Jude, Le Bonheur Children's Medical Center, the Med, Christ Community, the Shelby County Health Department, and Jackson Madison County General Hospital. Others are working as free-lance medical interpreters in different clinics in Memphis and surrounding counties. A significant percentage of former students are members of national, local, and state healthcare interpreter associations, and attend professional meetings regularly.

About the course instructor

Espi Ralston, MA, MAT, MA, CMI-Spanish, CHI, holds master degrees in curriculum and instruction, romance languages, and modern philology. She is also a certified medical interpreter. Ms. Ralston has 30 years of experience in teaching. In 1999, she took Bridging the Gap in Memphis, TN and in 2004, she attended the Health Care Interpreter Instructor Training Spring Institute in Oakland, CA under the leadership of Gayle Tang, Kaiser Permanente Director of National Linguistic and Cultural Programs. In 2011, she completed the Train the Trainer five-day intensive workshop in Nashville, TN taught by Holly Mikkelson and Katherine Allen. Ms. Ralston describes the critical need for this program: "Every medical encounter is a linguistic and cross-cultural encounter. In medical settings and, on a daily basis, healthcare interpreters act as conduits, cultural brokers, clarifiers and advocates in order to help limited English proficient patients receive access to quality health care. In a triadic relationship, a successful outcome depends largely on the efficiency of the interpreter. Thus, there is a great need for hospitals and medical institutions to hire interpreters who understand and know the intricacies of the profession." Ms. Ralston also works as a medical interpreter at St. Jude Children's Research Center in Memphis, TN.

For more information about the course, please contact Espi Ralston, course instructor and recruiter at (901) 218-4691 or email her at: Please indicate "Medical Interpreter Course" in the subject line of your email.

Congratulations to Espi Ralston, Instructor of the School of Public Health's Health Care Interpreter Program, for being the recipient of the Civic Leader Award, given by the local chapter of the National Hispanic Professional Organization at its first Memphis Latino Leadership Awards Banquet. This prestigious award recognizes a Latino professional who provides public service that bridges gaps for the Latino and greater Memphis community. Ms. Ralston was honored for working to improve the quality of medical interpreting in Memphis and the State of Tennessee.


Health Care Interpreter Training Program
Fall 2013 Level I

Fall 2013 Interpreter Level 1 Class 

Graduating Class of the Health Care Interpreter Program
Spring 2013

Interpreter Graduates 2013

Congratulations to:
Front row (left to right):  Cyntia Cantu, Lupe Balderas, Alicia Buckner,
Back row (left to right):  Karina Rothie, Kathy Scruggs, Espi Ralston (Instructor),
Bailey Baker, Graciela Vunk, Vicky Maness (not pictured)

Health Care Interpreter Training Program
Fall 2012 Level I

Health Care Interpreter Training Program

Health Care Interpreter Training Program
Fall 2011 Level I

Interpreter Graduates October 2011

Health Care Interpreter Training Program
Fall 2010 Level I

Health Care Interpreter Fall 2010 Level II

Health Care Interpreter Training Program
Spring 2010 Level I

Health Care Interpreter Spring 2010 Level II


National Medical Interpreter Exam Review

"Twenty healthcare interpreters attended a very successful workshop on February 6, 2010 to prepare for the National Certification Exam of Medical Interpreters. Espi Ralston, MA, MAT, MA was the instructor for the 8-hour session."

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