The ATA Chronicle - May/June 2020 - 26

FEATURE

BY JULIE BURNS AND TRACY YOUNG

Heritage Speakers in Health
Care Interpreting: A Case Study
in Virtual Training
Find out how implementing a flipped classroom methodology is proving to be
a valuable component in a program designed to support bilingual employees
who are Spanish heritage speakers on their journey toward becoming
professionally certified health care interpreters.

A

s health care interpreting becomes
more professionalized, thanks to
the efforts of national and statewide
professional interpreter organizations
and associations and the introduction of
national certification in 2010, heritage
speakers1 entering the profession face a
unique challenge. In the following, we
would like to share the lessons learned
from the efforts of a pioneering threemonth interpreter training program
at Barton Health, a community health
system in South Lake Tahoe, California,
where more than 80% of the bilingual
26

The ATA Chronicle | May/June 2020

employees participating in our program
are Spanish heritage speakers. This
initiative used the flipped classroom
methodology to introduce students to the
medical interpreting profession, improve
Spanish fluency, and expand their
bilingual medical terminology.

ABOUT BARTON
If you're fortunate enough to have visited
South Lake Tahoe, we hope you had a
grand time and were able to stay out of
Barton Memorial Hospital. But if you were

seen at Barton, we hope you received
consistently exceptional care from our
rural, yet robust health care system.
Barton Memorial Hospital, a component
of Barton Health, consists of 24-hour
emergency care services, 63 patient beds,
a skilled nursing facility with 48 resident
beds, and many departments to serve the
health and medical needs of our patients,
residents, employees, visitors, volunteers,
and the community.
Our Language Access Services
Department was established in 2006
with approximately 10 untrained dualrole2 Spanish medical interpreters and
two rickety laptops that rolled around
the emergency department for video
remote interpreting. We currently have
14 nationally certified Spanish dual-role
medical interpreters, an additional 14
students waiting for the results of their
Certification Commission for Healthcare
Interpreters3 National Oral Test, and
another 12 participating in the training
for this year. Thirty-four sturdy video
remote interpreting units are scattered
throughout our health care system as
well. If the 14 students pass the oral test,
we'll be able to provide an in-person or
video Spanish interpreter for each of our
63 beds simultaneously.

USING THE FLIPPED
CLASSROOM MODEL
If you're new to this jargon, here's a
little primer. A flipped classroom is a
teaching model that uses technology to
flip the roles in a traditional classroom.
It's called a "flipped" classroom because
the classroom paradigm looks totally
different than the traditional classroom.
Essentially, it means that students first
gain exposure to the subject outside of
class through a series of online materials,
such as videos, audios, and reading
assignments, that they can refer to as
many times as necessary. Then the actual
class time is used to do the harder work
of assimilating that knowledge through
problem-solving and discussion.
Asynchronous learning, as opposed to
synchronous learning (which involves
students learning together at the same
time, whether online or in person), means
the material is delivered online via webbased platforms, email, online forums,
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The ATA Chronicle - May/June 2020

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