The National Board Merges with IMIA
The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters Merges with the International Medical Interpreters Association to Enhance Services for Interpreters;
The National Board Applies for Accreditation
February 22, 2012
The National Board, a national certifying entity based in Washington DC, and the IMIA, a Boston-based international association of medical interpreters with charity status, announced their merger today. Both organizations have long shared the goal of increasing the number of credentialed interpreters in healthcare. The National Board will continue to be an autonomous and independent entity, and focus its efforts on certifying interpreters on demand, while the IMIA has worked for decades to advance the medical interpreting profession worldwide.
With this merger, the National Board rises to a unique position, it will be the first national certification body developed by interpreters that has as its home the only national medical interpreter association. It also means the National Board has 501c3 public charity status, the non-profit status that ensures activities are for the public good.
The interest in national medical interpreter certification has grown dramatically during the past few years, attracting considerable attention from outside the field. Previously of interest primarily to a small number of interpreters and advocates, the growing scale and the promise of a new credentialed profession have recently drawn the attention of many around the world. Just last December, the National Board had 352 registrants, 89 written exams completed, and 36 oral exams completed, all record-breaking numbers.
“This rapid growth has been a challenge for us,” stated Linda Joyce, Executive Director of the National Board. “We are a two-year old pioneering organization and serving hundreds of interpreters a year. Merging with the IMIA allows us to tap into the resources of a 25-year old organization to get more interpreters certified.”
Rita Weil, Chair of the National Board, added, “Much work remains to be done to sustain the demand, and this merger will allow us to work more in tandem with the founding association of the profession.” She further confirmed that the National Board applied for accreditation by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) in January. “It has always been our intent to seek accreditation, and we are very happy to have taken the first step.”
Louis F. Provenzano Jr., President and CEO of Language Line Services, commented, "As one of the co-founders of the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters, I am very excited about the merger of the Board as part of the International Medical Interpreters Association – the largest, oldest, and most prestigious association of interpreters in the nation. IMIA will provide the direction, support, and the much needed ‘voice of the interpreter’ to ensure the continued success and growth of the Board's Interpreter credentials. We, at Language Line Services, applaud this exciting next step on the road to recognition of the valuable role played by medical interpreters in the patient safety agenda."
The merger of the National Board and the IMIA creates a new resource for interpreters who wish to get credentialed and have a home after that process. The IMIA has a Credentialed Interpreter Division, called CI Division, where medical interpreters who are credentialed by the National Board or CCHI can collaborate to further their interests. This merger also allows the National Board and the IMIA to consolidate duplicative services in a field that is quite fragmented for its size. “We never thought of this when we founded the National Board as an independent organization,” said Izabel Arocha, Executive Director of the IMIA. “We thought that in order for the certifying body to be independent it needed to be a separate organization, and we were wrong. A certifying entity can be an independent division of another organization, just as the NCCA is a division of the Institute of Credentialing Excellence, ICE. This will save us time and costs and make the certification process more efficient.” The National Board will retain its board, employees, and financial and governance independence. It will simply be structured as a special division of the IMIA.
“Perhaps this will be the most important event of the year for the field, with long term repercussions that are sure to advance the profession,” stated Lola Bendana, President of the IMIA. “Collaboration is essential for us to progress and improve the sector. The Committee and united efforts from all the stakeholders will make the recognition of medical interpreting as a profession a reality.” Juana Horton, Secretary of the IMIA stated, “No matter where you are, the quality and accuracy of medical interpreting can literally be a life-or-death matter. The merger between the National Board and the IMIA is a significant strategic move. It will streamline our initiatives to set and promulgate high standards in medical interpreting. As a result, this merger will have real-life implications for the future in hospitals, clinics, and emergency rooms, as the standard of excellence in the field is raised,” she said.
About the International Medical Interpreters Association (IMIA)
The IMIA is an umbrella association that promotes all standards and best practices in the field of medical interpreting. As an international trade association of medical interpreters, it represents over 2,000 practicing medical interpreters as the ultimate experts in medical interpreting. It is also the only national trade association of medical interpreters in the US, and is an official active member of FIT, the Federation of Interpreters and Translators, an international organization comprised of trade associations of interpreters and translators worldwide. It is a partner member of AILIA, the Languages Industry Association, headquartered in Canada. IMIA developed the first code of ethics, standards, annual conference, and certification for medical interpreters and continues to be a pioneer in the field with its recent work to develop the first Interpreter Educators Code of Ethics and National Education Registry. Most current work involves developing an accreditation for medical interpreter training program. (www.imiaweb.org)
The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters
The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters is an autonomous certifying body, formed from an independent group of industry professionals who represent all key stakeholder groups, including professional medical interpreters, trainers, employers, providers, and regulators. The National Board developed the first comprehensive national medical interpreting certification program in 2009. The National Board is a special division of the IMIA and has independent authority over all essential certification decisions. The purpose of certification is to ensure limited English proficiency patient safety by rigorous evaluation and assurance of the competency of medical interpreters, through written and oral exams. Those who pass the written and oral exams are bestowed the CMI credential which stands for Certified Medical Interpreter.
PLEASE NOTE: Please see this link for a personal letter from Louis Provenzano, CEO of LLS.