National Open Calls (2003-2013)

Over the course of the NCIHC, our goal has always been to create a dialogue with our members and stakeholders regarding language access. Early in the NCIHC history, we did these through Open Calls, an open-line telephone call people could join in to discuss topics relating to a particular topic. This predates a change in technology, and when webinars allowed us to share via a broader spectrum we changed. Please go to our webinars page to see our latest discussion topics. 

About the Webinars and Open Calls

The NCIHC Outreach Committee organizes quarterly webinars on specific topics in order to:

1) collect and transmit the expertise of practitioners in the field to the NCIHC Board and Committees,

2) provide practitioners in the field with new information relevant to their work, and

3) support the exchange of ideas between practitioners in the field.

The NCIHC webinars are an excellent chance to learn about key issues of interest to the health care interpreting field with colleagues and stakeholders from across the United States. 

There is no cost for participation in the webinars other than your long-distance charges. Join us for discussions of hot topics in health care interpreting!

If you have an idea for a webinar, the Outreach Committee would love to hear them!  E-mail Us Now!


March 20, 2013

Opportunity and Challenge: Language Access for the Health Benefits Marketplace

Will health care reform increase access to care for consumers with limited English proficiency? 

The promise of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is coming ever closer to reality, as the Health Benefits Marketplaces (HBM) will open for business in October of this year, to enroll consumers in the new public and private insurance plans that start in January 2014. For many people, this will be the first time that they will be able to obtain health insurance for themselves and their families. Nationwide, about 1 in 4, or 23%, of consumers who will be eligible for the news plans have limited English proficiency (LEP).

What is not yet certain is how their language needs will be met as they seek to inform themselves about options, go through the enrollment process, and start using insurance and healthcare services.  The ACA itself contains Non-Discrimination mandates, and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act also governs the HBMs as recipients of federal funds; plus there are state laws and rules that apply as well, in specific locales. Making meaningful language access services a part of HBM  operations and services is a complex process, as we will learn from advocates from around the country.  This webinar will offer an overview of the ACA, the HBMs, the legal and policy framework for quality language services for LEP consumers, plus the critical importance of advocacy for ensuring equal access. Participants will learn what's going on nationally, and at the state level, with a focus on understanding the issues,  strategies for addressing systemic barriers, and recommendations of helpful resources for policy education. Advocates from California, New York, and Washington will share first-hand accounts about their experiences-- both past and still in progress--working to overcome the challenges to achieve maximum public benefit from this new opportunity.

 To download the slides click hereClick here for the resources from the webinar!

July 8, 2011

National Standards for Healthcare Interpreter Training Programs: The Final Product

The National Standards for Healthcare Interpreting Training Programs are a result of a systematic, deliberate and reflective process and are representative of what working interpreters and interpreter educators in the U.S. believe are important in the preparation of healthcare interpreters for entry into practice. Presenters introduced the Standards, provided a short overview on how they were developed, went over the Standards themselves and discussed approaches toward the application of these standards to participants’ own training programs or training experience.

Click here to view the recorded webinar.

March 18, 2011 

State Legislature and Policy: Implications for Interpreting in Health Care

The NCIHC hosted its second Webinar!

Our presenters were Mara Youdelman from the National Health Law Program & CCHI, Kristi Cruz from Washington State Coalition for Language Access, and Nisha Agarwal from Health Justice Program at New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. Please click here if you would like to view the webinar recording.  

September 10, 2010

National Standards for Health Care Interpreter Training Programs:

Where Are We Now? What Comes Next?

Our presenters were Cindy Roat and Karin Ruschke from the NCIHC’s Standards, Training and Certification Committee. They discussed the National Standards for Health Care Interpreter Training Program. The information included the Program’s background, development steps, accomplishments to date, core research, body of knowledge, course content, results from the Advisory Committee meeting held in Chicago, focus groups to date, and next steps. Participants had the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback during the Webinar, as well as participate in polls.

Click here to listen to the Webinar recording, and  to read the answers to questions that speakers were not able to address due to time constraints.

December 18, 2009

Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters: Paving the Way

The Open Call provided an in-depth look at what is involved in creating the kind of professional certifications and employer-valued credentials. Four commissioners from the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI)  provided listeners with breaking news about what to look for and expect in January 2010, as well as which area of healthcare interpreting has the highest need for certification and why CCHI will respond to that need first. Please click here to listen to the recording of the Open Call, and click here to read the accompanying outline. If you would like more information about CCHI, go to


February 13, 2009

Setting Up an Effective Language Access Program:   Challenges and Solutions

Click here to read the Call Summary.


November 21, 2008

Garnering Support for the Use of Trained Interpreters in Healthcare

Click here to read the Call Summary.


August 22, 2008

Interpreter Self Care

Health care interpreting can be an emotionally and physically draining line of work. From the physical stress of running from appointment to appointment to secondary and vicarious trauma, medical settings test an interpreter’s emotional and physical reserves. How can interpreters keep themselves healthy? And what are institutions and agencies doing to help their interpreters stay well? In this call, we will be discussing interpreter self-care in all its aspects.

Click here to read the Call Summary.


May 30, 2008

Language Access: A Community Approach

Participants on this call heard about three innovative efforts to collaborate across institutions and venues in order to improve language access in health care and social services. Representatives from the Alameda County Coalition on Language Access in Health Care (ACCLAH) in California, the Health Interpreting Network in Toronto and the Forum on the Coordination of Interpreter Services (FOCIS) in Massachusetts described their programs. A discussion followed about the benefits, challenges associated with inter-institutional collaboration.

Click here to read the Call Summary.


February 7, 2008

Training Mental Health Interpreters

Participants on this call discussed how to make training in mental health interpreting available to more interpreters. Specifically, the discussion focused on: 

  1. Identifying what needs to happen in order to make such training more widely available.

  2. Identifying ways in which we could work together to extend the reach of such training.

  3. Sharing resources: training services, curricula, etc.

  4. Identifying potential next steps.

Click here to read the Call Summary.

December 7, 2007

Interpreting in Mental Health: What’s Different?

Participants heard from Brian McKenny, an ASL interpreter certified for Mental Health Interpreting in the State of Alabama, as well as Dr. DJ Ida from the National Asian American Pacific Islander Mental Health Association (NAAPIMHA) and Dr. Cathy Mayton-Collins, Director of Social Work at the Mohawk Valley Psychiatric Center in Utica, NY.  Mr. McKenny discussed his experiences interpreting in a mental health program designed specifically for deaf and hard-of-hearing patients. Dr. Ida and Dr. Mayton-Collins shared information on the week-long training programs for interpreters in mental health that they have assisted in developing. A general discussion about the differences between medical and mental health interpreting followed.

Click here to read the Call Summary.


October 19, 2007

Interim Quality Standards: How do we Guarantee Quality in Interpreting Until National Certification is in Place?

Participants heard from Maria Michalczyk, Chair of the Oregon Council on Health Care Interpreters, and from Armando Villareal, Administrator of the Iowa Commission on Latino Affairs, about the steps that Oregon and Iowa are taking to assure quality in health care interpreting in the absence of state or national certification. A discussion followed on What minimum knowledge and skills should be required of interpreters, what efforts should be made on a state level to implement interim interpreter standards, and what are the ideal final standards to be implemented on a state level.

Click here to read the Call Summary.


May 25, 2007

On-site and Remote Interpreting: When Is Each Most Appropriate?

Participants heard first from three guest speakers. Nataly Kelly, a national consultant with broad experience in the telephonic interpreting field, spoke about telephonic interpreting. Dr, Francis Chabot spoke from his perspective as a health care provider about telephonic and on-site interpreters. Finally, Gloria Garcia-Orme and Bruce Occena spoke about their work integrating an on-site/telephonic/video interpreting system at San Francisco General Hospital. A discussion followed about when remote and on-site interpreting is most appropriate and about what is sometimes lost by going remote.

Click here to read the Call Summary.


March 27, 2007

Dual Role Interpreters: Where do they Fit in a Language Access Program?

The participants discussed the definition of the term “Dual Role Interpreter;” the benefits and drawbacks of such programs; whether dual-role interpreters have a place in language access and if so, what that is; and the key steps to assuring the quality of interpreting when dual-role interpreters are used.

Click here to read the Call Summary.


February 2, 2007

Providing Language Services in Languages of Limited Diffusion

Santiago Ventura and Julie Samples from the Oregon Law Center shared their experiences training interpreters in Native Mexican and Central American languages. The participant then discussed whether the role of interpreters in languages of limited diffusion (LLD) should be different; whether these interpreter candidates had special training needs; how to help these interpreters develop bilingual vocabulary and what steps could be taken to improve access to interpreters in LLD.

Click here to read the Call Summary.


December 8, 2006

Funding Language Access in Health Care

This call focused on strategies and resources for funding interpreter services. Mara Youdelman from NHeLP discussed how some states are pulling down federal Medicaid matching funds to pay for interpreters. Then Oscar Arocha from the Boston Medical Center shared his expertise in funding interpreter services in one of the busiest language access programs in the country. The following discussion touched on issues of efficiencies, the cost-effectiveness of various models of provision of interpreter services and the possibility of getting third-party insurers to contribute.

Click here to read the Call Summary.


May 20, 2005

What Should NCIHC Be Doing in 2006?

During this call, the NCIHC asked for input on where it should be focusing its efforts in the upcoming year. We asked about how the NCIHC has helped people, how it could be more helpful, and what sorts of projects would be useful to practitioners in the field. Input from this call will be considered by the board and committees at the upcoming Annual Meeting of the Council at the end of June.

Click here to read the Call Summary.


March 18, 2005

The Code of Ethics

The topic of discussion for this call was the NCIHC National Code of Ethics for Interpreters in Health Care since the Council is interested in hearing from you what questions you had about the Code, how to encourage institutions to adopt the Code, and how we might better disseminate the Code around the country. Input from this call will be used by the Membership and Outreach Committee in its dissemination efforts.

Click here to read the Call Summary.


January 28, 2005 

The NCIHC Standards of Practice for Interpreters in Health Care

The input received on the call was distributed on the NCIHC listserv and incorporated into the official Standards document by the Standards, Training and Certification Committee.

Click here to read the Call Summary.


September 24, 2004

The sort of research that those of us in health care interpreting would like to see in order to advance the field.

The input received during that call was distributed on the NCIHC listserv and incorporated into a short background paper that was disseminated at a convening of language access researchers organized by the Council in November 2004 with funding from The California Endowment.

Click here to read the Call Summary.


February 10, 2004

The use of bilingual employees as non-dedicated interpreters.

Feedback from this call was distributed on the NCIHC listserv.


October 14, 2003

The HHS OCR 2003 draft LEP Guidance.

Feedback from this call was distributed on the NCIHC listserv and incorporated in the NCIHC’s official response to OCR.