State of Oregon First to Adopt National Certification for Medical Interpreters

The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters announced today that the State of Oregon has become the first state in the nation to officially adopt and endorse the Certification for Medical Interpreters (CMI) through the National Board.

Patients in the United States with limited English proficiency (LEP) continue to face language barriers that threaten their health and undermine their well-being. This first of its kind national interpreting standard provides professional interpreters working in the medical field with the opportunity to be tested and credentialed as certified interpreters.

The Oregon Office of Multicultural Health & Services also has awarded a grant to the National Board for the development of oral certification exams in Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese and Russian. CMI launched the first national certification exam for Spanish in October 2009.

"By embracing the National Board's standards and supporting its expansion for five additional languages, Oregon is saving considerable time and resources to achieve our goal of ensuring the safety of LEP patients," said David Cardona, MD, MPH, Healthcare Interpreter Program Coordinator for the Oregon Office of Multicultural Health & Services. "Oregon is ready to bring the benefits of medical interpreter certification to our state, where the LEP population has nearly tripled since 1990."

Hopefully, this will be the first of many states to make this monumental change that recognizes and solidifies the vision and work of many individuals, organizations and supporters.

This accomplishment could never have been achieved without the vision, passion and support of the International Medical Interpreter Association (IMIA) who have worked tirelessly in support of the National Board to achieve this major milestone and historical first. Language Line Services is proud to be not just a part of this industry-evolving-event, but a catalyst and change-agent throughout this entire process.

Louis Provenzano is President and Chief Operating Officer of Language Line Services, the world's leading provider of language-based services.