Implementing a medical student interpreter training program as a strategy to developing humanism

Alvaro F. Vargas Pelaez, Sarah Ramirez, Chavely Valdes Sanchez, Shady Piedra Abusharar, Jose C. Romeu, Connor Carmichael, Soraya Bascoy, Rose Baron, Ariana Pichardo-Lowden, Nathalia Albarracin, Claire C. Jones, Patricia Silveyra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Humanistic care in medicine has shown to improve healthcare outcomes. Language barriers are a significant obstacle to humanistic care, and trained medical interpreters have demonstrated to effectively bridge the gap for the vulnerable limited English proficiency (LEP) patient population. One way in which medical schools can train more humanistic physicians and provide language access is through the implementation of programs to train bilingual medical students as medical interpreters. The purpose of this prospective study was to evaluate whether such training had an impact on bilingual medical student's interpretation skills and humanistic traits. Methods: Between 2015 and 2017, whole-day (~ 8 h) workshops on medical interpretation were offered periodically to 80 bilingual medical students at the Penn State College of Medicine. Students completed a series of questionnaires before and after the training that assessed the program's effectiveness and its overall impact on interpretation skills and humanistic traits. Students also had the opportunity to become certified medical interpreters. Results: The 80 student participants were first- to third- year medical students representing 21 languages. Following training, most students felt more confident interpreting (98%) and more empathetic towards LEP patients (87.5%). Students' scores in the multiple-choice questions about medical interpretation/role of the interpreter were also significantly improved (Chi-Square test, p < 0.05). All students who decided to take the exam were able to successfully become certified interpreters. Ninety-two percent of participants reported they would recommend the program and would be willing to serve as a future "coaches" for interpreter training workshops delivered to peer students. Conclusions: Our program was successful in increasing self-reported measures of empathy and humanism in medical students. Our data suggests that implementation of medical interpreter training programs can be a successful strategy to develop of humanism in medical students, and aid in the development of sustainable language access for LEP patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number141
JournalBMC medical education
Volume18
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 18 2018

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humanism
interpreter
medical student
training program
student
interpretation
language
medicine
language barrier
coach
empathy
physician
questionnaire
school

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education

Cite this

Vargas Pelaez, A. F., Ramirez, S., Valdes Sanchez, C., Piedra Abusharar, S., Romeu, J. C., Carmichael, C., ... Silveyra, P. (2018). Implementing a medical student interpreter training program as a strategy to developing humanism. BMC medical education, 18(1), [141]. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-018-1254-7
Vargas Pelaez, Alvaro F. ; Ramirez, Sarah ; Valdes Sanchez, Chavely ; Piedra Abusharar, Shady ; Romeu, Jose C. ; Carmichael, Connor ; Bascoy, Soraya ; Baron, Rose ; Pichardo-Lowden, Ariana ; Albarracin, Nathalia ; Jones, Claire C. ; Silveyra, Patricia. / Implementing a medical student interpreter training program as a strategy to developing humanism. In: BMC medical education. 2018 ; Vol. 18, No. 1.
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title = "Implementing a medical student interpreter training program as a strategy to developing humanism",
abstract = "Background: Humanistic care in medicine has shown to improve healthcare outcomes. Language barriers are a significant obstacle to humanistic care, and trained medical interpreters have demonstrated to effectively bridge the gap for the vulnerable limited English proficiency (LEP) patient population. One way in which medical schools can train more humanistic physicians and provide language access is through the implementation of programs to train bilingual medical students as medical interpreters. The purpose of this prospective study was to evaluate whether such training had an impact on bilingual medical student's interpretation skills and humanistic traits. Methods: Between 2015 and 2017, whole-day (~ 8 h) workshops on medical interpretation were offered periodically to 80 bilingual medical students at the Penn State College of Medicine. Students completed a series of questionnaires before and after the training that assessed the program's effectiveness and its overall impact on interpretation skills and humanistic traits. Students also had the opportunity to become certified medical interpreters. Results: The 80 student participants were first- to third- year medical students representing 21 languages. Following training, most students felt more confident interpreting (98{\%}) and more empathetic towards LEP patients (87.5{\%}). Students' scores in the multiple-choice questions about medical interpretation/role of the interpreter were also significantly improved (Chi-Square test, p < 0.05). All students who decided to take the exam were able to successfully become certified interpreters. Ninety-two percent of participants reported they would recommend the program and would be willing to serve as a future {"}coaches{"} for interpreter training workshops delivered to peer students. Conclusions: Our program was successful in increasing self-reported measures of empathy and humanism in medical students. Our data suggests that implementation of medical interpreter training programs can be a successful strategy to develop of humanism in medical students, and aid in the development of sustainable language access for LEP patients.",
author = "{Vargas Pelaez}, {Alvaro F.} and Sarah Ramirez and {Valdes Sanchez}, Chavely and {Piedra Abusharar}, Shady and Romeu, {Jose C.} and Connor Carmichael and Soraya Bascoy and Rose Baron and Ariana Pichardo-Lowden and Nathalia Albarracin and Jones, {Claire C.} and Patricia Silveyra",
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Vargas Pelaez, AF, Ramirez, S, Valdes Sanchez, C, Piedra Abusharar, S, Romeu, JC, Carmichael, C, Bascoy, S, Baron, R, Pichardo-Lowden, A, Albarracin, N, Jones, CC & Silveyra, P 2018, 'Implementing a medical student interpreter training program as a strategy to developing humanism', BMC medical education, vol. 18, no. 1, 141. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-018-1254-7

Implementing a medical student interpreter training program as a strategy to developing humanism. / Vargas Pelaez, Alvaro F.; Ramirez, Sarah; Valdes Sanchez, Chavely; Piedra Abusharar, Shady; Romeu, Jose C.; Carmichael, Connor; Bascoy, Soraya; Baron, Rose; Pichardo-Lowden, Ariana; Albarracin, Nathalia; Jones, Claire C.; Silveyra, Patricia.

In: BMC medical education, Vol. 18, No. 1, 141, 18.06.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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T1 - Implementing a medical student interpreter training program as a strategy to developing humanism

AU - Vargas Pelaez, Alvaro F.

AU - Ramirez, Sarah

AU - Valdes Sanchez, Chavely

AU - Piedra Abusharar, Shady

AU - Romeu, Jose C.

AU - Carmichael, Connor

AU - Bascoy, Soraya

AU - Baron, Rose

AU - Pichardo-Lowden, Ariana

AU - Albarracin, Nathalia

AU - Jones, Claire C.

AU - Silveyra, Patricia

PY - 2018/6/18

Y1 - 2018/6/18

N2 - Background: Humanistic care in medicine has shown to improve healthcare outcomes. Language barriers are a significant obstacle to humanistic care, and trained medical interpreters have demonstrated to effectively bridge the gap for the vulnerable limited English proficiency (LEP) patient population. One way in which medical schools can train more humanistic physicians and provide language access is through the implementation of programs to train bilingual medical students as medical interpreters. The purpose of this prospective study was to evaluate whether such training had an impact on bilingual medical student's interpretation skills and humanistic traits. Methods: Between 2015 and 2017, whole-day (~ 8 h) workshops on medical interpretation were offered periodically to 80 bilingual medical students at the Penn State College of Medicine. Students completed a series of questionnaires before and after the training that assessed the program's effectiveness and its overall impact on interpretation skills and humanistic traits. Students also had the opportunity to become certified medical interpreters. Results: The 80 student participants were first- to third- year medical students representing 21 languages. Following training, most students felt more confident interpreting (98%) and more empathetic towards LEP patients (87.5%). Students' scores in the multiple-choice questions about medical interpretation/role of the interpreter were also significantly improved (Chi-Square test, p < 0.05). All students who decided to take the exam were able to successfully become certified interpreters. Ninety-two percent of participants reported they would recommend the program and would be willing to serve as a future "coaches" for interpreter training workshops delivered to peer students. Conclusions: Our program was successful in increasing self-reported measures of empathy and humanism in medical students. Our data suggests that implementation of medical interpreter training programs can be a successful strategy to develop of humanism in medical students, and aid in the development of sustainable language access for LEP patients.

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Vargas Pelaez AF, Ramirez S, Valdes Sanchez C, Piedra Abusharar S, Romeu JC, Carmichael C et al. Implementing a medical student interpreter training program as a strategy to developing humanism. BMC medical education. 2018 Jun 18;18(1). 141. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12909-018-1254-7