ISSUE 2 - April - June, 2020 Newsletter

From the Chair of the National Board

A CMI perspective: From Covid-19 to social injustice, two sides of the same coin?

I was starting my car when the news came over the radio. It was an interview of a Doctor talking about the high correlation between the COVID-19 pandemic, the protests, and violence on the street. She explained that unfortunately, racism against minorities is a painful story about suffering that extends to public health, and COVID-19 is a perfect example showing these statistics I decided to search for answers, and found many articles and statements.

The CDC posted a note mentioning "Among COVID-19 deaths for which race and ethnicity data were available, New York City identified death rates among black/African American persons (92.3 deaths per 100,000 population) and Hispanic/Latino persons (74.3) that were substantially higher than that of white (45.2) or Asian (34.5) persons.."

Dr. Gary LeRoy president of the American Academy of Family Physicians, said that "the COVID pandemic has really shined a spotlight on the discrepancies in health care outcomes for people of color and of lower socioeconomic status..."

Additionally, AARP's article regarding minority communities and COVID-19 mentioned: "The data is clear and has been clear for decades: African Americans, Latinos and other minority groups live sicker and die younger," says Stephen Thomas, a professor of health policy and management and director of the Maryland Center for Health Equity at the University of Maryland School of Public Health. "We cannot close our eyes or put up blinders to the disproportionate impact of this disease on racial and ethnic minority communities."

As interpreters, we witness both very good things and bad things happening as well. Among them, acts of racism and disparities in multiple instances, taking deep breaths to hide our own feelings as we convey the message and keep going until we finish the assignment. Then, we leave the encounter wondering: "what should I have done differently?" Yes, doing nothing is a common practice; after all, we have been trained to be a bridge between patient and provider. However, sometimes, not taking action is morally unacceptable.

The most controversial role of the interpreter is the Advocate role. The National Code of Ethics for Interpreters in Healthcare (NCIHC) has a clear definition:

"Taking action or speaking up on behalf of a service user whose safety, health, well-being or human dignity is at risk, with the purpose of preventing harm."

After all, health professionals are often expected to advocate for patient safety. IMIA (2006) in its own Code of Ethics includes patient advocacy and intercultural mediation in the same ethical principle, suggesting that both actions are within the interpreter's role.

Is a common belief that changes come from within; that we need to start as individuals and as professionals to incorporate changes needed for a better society of tomorrow.

Do we need a contemporary approach to analyze the advocacy dilemma and the Medical Interpreter's profession?

The American healthcare system is in constant evolution. For many institutions, part of this evolution at the present, means taking a stand against racial disparity. Can we as medical interpreter professionals grow to the same level? And aid in the process the change of one side of the story?

For me, the answer is clear: Yes, we can! And we should!

Xiomara Armas Xiomara Armas, CMI, BSBA

IMIA and NBCMI Joint Statement

NBCMI in Memoriam

While all life lost during the coronavirus pandemic is invaluable, the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (NBCMI) will be highlighting the names of U.S. Medical & Healthcare Interpreters who have passed away after battling the virus:

Dulce Garcia

Dahir Ahmed

Tuan "Archie" Nguyen

This list will be updated regularly. If you would like to add a fallen medical and healthcare interpreter to this list, please email:

Ana Catalina Jones, [email protected]


Gustavo Negrete, [email protected]

National Board is celebrating our new Hub-CMI Credential

Click the poster for more information or visit

We can hardly contain our joy for the HUB-CMI launch! Here are some words... Watch the video

Or visit:

Celebrating International Year of Nurse
From Board Director Dr. Patricia Perryman

The International Year of the Nurse, in 2020, falls on Florence Nightingale's 200th birthday anniversary. This year of recognition occurs within the complexity of a healthcare continuum. Through the increasing complexity comes the constant expansion of nursing roles, scopes of practice, and specializations. It, also, happens to coincide with one of the worst global pandemics of modern history. This sets a broad stage to highlight the impact nursing has on our communities and healthcare system. Nursing is an influential profession that embraces the advocacy role in health promotion, active nursing care, and supportive end of life processes. But nurses do not have this impact in a silo. They are members of an interprofessional team that has specialized proficiencies, that when combined, brings the patient and their families a synergistic state of health and well-being. The role nurses have as a patient advocate is positively impacted through a vital partnership with the certified medical interpreter. Nursing care is only as effective as the understanding of the required components of that care. Clarity of understanding through the medical terminology, news of a devastating diagnosis, and cultural norms requires a close and collaborative working relationship between the two professions. The symbiotic working relationship between these two professions is critical to the patients, communities, and the system as a whole.

(Authored by Dr. Patricia Perryman, Board Director of NBCMI)

Welcome New Board Directors!!

The National Board is excited to introduce our new board directors who joined us this year.

Adriana Bialostozky, MD

Dr. Bialostozky obtained her medical degree at the Universidad Autonoma de Mexico, completed her residency in General Pediatrics at Miami Children's Hospital and a fellowship in Health Services Research at the University of Michigan before joining the faculty at Vanderbilt in October 2004.

Dr. Bialostozky has a passion for ensuring culturally and linguistically appropriate services. She joined Vanderbilt Children's Hospital in 2004 and created a Clinic for Spanish Speaking Families staffed by other providers as well as residents. She has also worked with Dr. Kecia Carrol and together they developed the vision, framework and the recommendations for the creation of the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. The National Board welcomes Dr. Adriana Bialostozky.

[email protected]

Christopher Chavez, CMI-Spanish, MBA

Christopher currently leads the Interpreter and Translations Services Department for the Boulder Community Health System in Colorado.

Christopher brings with him experience in Operations Management having held various positions in this field. He is a licensed court interpreter and has transitioned to the field of medical interpreting. The National Board welcomes Christopher Chavez.

[email protected]

Dr. Patricia Perryman, DNP, CNE, BCPA

Dr. Patricia Perryman is an active healthcare provider with more than 40 years of experience in various areas. She is President of Chamberlain University Irving campus. Her clinical practice is as a congregational nurse volunteer, Pat provides advocacy through patient teaching, medication reconciliation, advance directive information and health screenings.

Dr. Perryman has a passion in raising the standards for quality medical interpreting to improve healthcare outcomes, patient safety and patient/provider communication. The National Board welcomes Dr. Patricia Perryman.

[email protected]

Gustavo R. Negrete, CMI-Spanish

Gustavo R. Negrete received his training at California State University in Fullerton, Extended Education Program in Court Interpreting English-Spanish. In 2014, he achieved certification through the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (CMI) in Spanish and is also a Certified HIPAA Privacy Expert (CHPE).

Gustavo is currently an Interpreter/Translator at Riverside University Health System (RUHS), Coordinator and Lead Instructor for TransInterpreting's Healthcare Interpreter Program, and an OPI and VRI for the Healthcare Interpreting Network (HCIN). When asked why he wanted to join the National Board, Gustavo simply stated "I belief in the mission of the National Board and I want to do my part in fulfilling that mission." The National Board welcomes Gustavo R. Negrete.

[email protected]


Are you passionate about advancing the medical interpreting profession?

Are you a CMI and an experienced leader in the medical interpreting field?

We invite you to present your application to join the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (NBCMI)

Position Open: Two CMI Board Directors

(*) Please note that these are unpaid, volunteer positions

NOMINATIONS DEADLINE: September 30, 2020

Send applications/questions to:

[email protected]

Upcoming Events

September 26 Arizona Translators and Interpreters (ATI)

ATI 2020 Annual Conference

Getting Down to Business!

VIRTUAL More Information

October 21-24 American Translators Association (ATA)

61st Annual Conference #ATA61

Boston MA

ATA Approved: 10 CE points Follow #ATA61!

Did you know? IMIA COVID-19 TASK FORCE

The IMIA COVID-19 Task Force™ is charged to develop policies and guidelines to safeguard medical interpreters' professional, financial, emotional, and occupational safety. In addition, IMIA will assist in the communication needs of LEP, Deaf, Hard of Hearing communities, and people with functional needs with official information from the Center for Disease Control on how to protect themselves and others and will research professional occupational hazards.

Go to the IMIA COVID-19 Task Force™ page