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Healthcare Interpreting: Beyond the Bilingual

with Nouria Belmouloud and Liz Essary
January 31st, 2017
11:45 AM


Tuesday, January 31, 2017

11:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.

Forum for Scholars and Publics (Old Chem 011)

Light lunch served.

Those who are unacquainted with the profession of healthcare interpreting may be forgiven for assuming that a well-educated bilingual speaker would require little extra preparation before stepping into the role. Nouria Belmouloud and Liz Essary, experienced trainers of healthcare interpreters, will talk about what it really takes to go from being bilingual to becoming an effective healthcare interpreter.

In this conversation Belmouloud and Essary will address which contexts are included under the label “healthcare interpreting” and will explore some of the challenges inherent in the intersection of language, disability, and socioeconomic barriers to healthcare access. They will also talk about how healthcare interpreters prepare themselves to interpret for patients who have experienced trauma, and will share how interpreters contribute to improving the healthcare industry’s outcomes and safety record.

After a brief introduction, each speaker will present for about 15 minutes and then we will invite students to respond and ask questions. Finally, we will open the conversation up to questions from the wider audience.

This event is organized by Joan Munné and Melissa Simmermeyer and has been made possible with the support of Forum for Scholars and Publics, the Mary D.B.T. and J.H. Semans International Exchange Fund, Dean of the Humanities, the Department of Romance Studies, the Trinity Language Committee, and Community-Based Teaching and Learning Funds.

For more information, visit the Translating Spanish-English and English-Spanish website.


Nouria Belmouloud

Duke University International Patient Services

Nouria Belmouloud was born and raised in Algeria and speaks English, French, Arabic, and Berber. She received her BA & MA in English Linguistics and Literature. 

Nouria moved to the US in 1996 and has worked as an interpreter at Duke University Health System since 1998. In 2000 she received training of trainers and became a teacher of language access professionals with the CCHCP, the Cross-Cultural Health Care Program, whose mission is “to improve the health care of communities that face linguistic and cultural barriers to receiving health services. The CCHCP develops training programs for health care providers and for medical interpreters, provides a central resource center, and works with underserved communities and with institutions to change policies and procedures that create barriers to care.” In 2006 she became Supervisor of International Patient Services and Language Services at Duke.  

Along with her team of trainers, Nouria has organized and facilitated Bridging the Gap for Medical Interpreters training sessions in the Carolinas. She is an active member of the International Medical Interpreters Association and of the Forum of Coordinators of Interpreter Services, North Carolina and South Carolina Chapter. She recently trained to become a TeamSTEPPS LEP (Limited English Proficiency) module trainer, to promote medical interpreters’ involvement in supporting a culture of safety for LEP patients. TeamSTEPPS (Strategies & Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety) with the Agency for Healthcare Research Quality, under the US Department of Health & Human Services, is “an evidence-based set of teamwork tools, aimed at optimizing patient outcomes by improving communication and teamwork skills among health care professionals.”

Liz Essary

Indiana University Health Language Services

Liz Essary began working as a healthcare interpreter in 2002 and in 2012, Liz earned national CERTIFIED HEALTHCARE INTERPRETER™ certification through the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI-Spanish). During her time as a healthcare interpreter, she worked as a staff interpreter in inpatient and outpatient settings, including mental health, with adults and pediatrics patients.

From 2011 to 2015, in her work as Language Services Supervisor at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis, Liz developed and taught several workshops for skills building, ethical decision making, and certification exam prep. In addition to her work training interpreters, she also trained hospital staff on intercultural communication and effectively working with interpreters. She is an accredited trainer through the CCHI’s Continuing Education Approval Program and continues to develop and offer CEU-approved workshops for interpreters. In 2013, she served as a Subject Matter Expert and item writer for CCHI’s written certification exam.

Liz is currently serving her second term on the Board of Directors for the National Council on Interpreting in Healthcare (NCIHC). She holds a BA in Spanish from Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis, and a Master of Conference Interpreting from the Glendon School of Translation at York University in Toronto. Liz currently works as a freelance healthcare, court, and conference interpreter in Indianapolis.