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Lighthouse Leadership Award

IMIA Lighthouse Leadership Award

One of the most important and widely recognized functions IMIA fulfils for its members is the awarding of IMIA prizes and awards at our Annual International Conferences on Medical Interpreting. Being selected by a national and international jury to receive an IMIA prize or award signifies recognition of the 'best of the best' by one's peers around the globe. Please take this opportunity to nominate outstanding colleagues in the field for the IMIA prizes as recognition of their professionalism and to demonstrate their work and accomplishments in advocating for the profession and for the patients who require interpreters all over the world. Individuals are entitled to nominate one candidate per prize. All IMIA members and others are encouraged to submit nominations.

This Award of Merit was established in 2010 by the IMIA International Board of Directors and is the highest award granted to an individual member or a corporate member of the IMIA for distinguished leadership, service and outstanding participation in IMIA activities during the previous year. The IMIA leadership includes the standing and former IMIA National and International representatives, as well as the IMIA Committee and Division Chairpersons and the IMIA Executive Board as well as others who take on positions of leadership in the IMIA. Recipients receive a complimentary registration to the IMIA International Conference in Medical Interpreting and a complimentary one year membership to the organization. This award recognizes the achievements of individuals who have made significant and lasting contributions to improving patient safety and language access in health care, and individuals who, through specific initiatives or projects of the IMIA, have made an important contribution to our profession at a national and/or international level.

Submission Requirements:
a. A description of no less than 100 words with specific examples of why the nominee should win this award (nominee bio preferred but not required)
b. Contact information of nominee
c. Contact information of person making submission
e. All emailed to


The Recipient of 2017 IMIA Lighthouse Leadership Award
Kazumi Takesako


azumi Takesako, IMIA Japan Representative
Kazumi Takesako, PhD, Professor at Fujita Health University teaching Japan's first Master course of medical interpreting with an aim to educate professionals ready for language access management. She holds a master's degree in interpreting education, is fluent in English, Spanish, and Japanese. She has been the IMIA's Board of Directors and now serves as the Interim Secretary of the Executive Committee as well as the Japan Chapter Chair. She is a Certified Surveyor by Japan Medical Education Foundation, JMIP. She chairs the Committee "Remote Medical Interpreting" at the Japan Tele-medicine and Tele-Care Association. She is determined to advance the profession across Asia and beyond with ADVOCACY and EDUCATION of stakeholders in mind. For that purpose, she organized the IMIA Asia Symposium in 2014 and International Symposium in 2015.


The Recipient of 2015 IMIA Lighthouse Leadership Award
David Cardona, MD, MPH

Dr. David Cardona is the Language Access Services Coordinator at Oregon Health Authority, Office of Equity and Inclusion. Dr. Cardona convenes multiple state agencies, government jurisdictions, community organizations and private sector representatives to advance Title VI of the Civil Rights Act and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act to improve access to services for persons with limited English proficiency (LEP) and with disabilities. Dr. Cardona is developing a comprehensive Language Access Service Policy for the Oregon Health Authority in partnership with the Department of Human Services.

Dr. David Cardona holds a medical degree from the Universidad Autónoma de Santa Ana, El Salvador, a Master of Public Health from Portland State University, and a Scientific Degree from the University of Basel, Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute in Switzerland. He has executive management education from the School of Public Health at Harvard University and coursework in training of trainers for health care interpreting professionals from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California.

Dr. Cardona is the co-founder and former vice-president of the Oregon Health Care Interpreters Association, working to promote certification and training of health care interpreters. He is also a nationally recognized lecturer in language access services, and a civil rights advocate for the protection of LEP populations of the nation.


The Recipient of 2011 IMIA Lighthouse Leadership Award
Izabel S. Arocha, M.Ed., CMI

Izabel Arocha, IMIA Executive DirectorIzabel S. Arocha, M.Ed., CMI, is a nationally certified medical interpreter and the Executive Director of the International Medical Interpreters Association, the representative association of medical interpreters worldwide. Arocha serves as Secretary General of FIT, The International Federation of Translators, representing over 100 translator, interpreter, and terminologist associations worldwide. She is also a member of the Global Advisory Board, and is an ASTM an ISO Expert US Committee delegate on their respective interpreting standards. She worked as a professor at Boston University and Cambridge College and advocates for academic education as a means to professionalization. Her Multidisciplinary Competency Model provides a generalist to specialist interpreter identity schema. She was an advocate for the IMIA charter from 1986 to implement certification and as IMIA President, co-founded the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters in 2009. She advocates for the reimbursement of medical interpreters in Capitol Hill, and internationally for language rights as an international human rights issue. She was born in Australia and raised in Belgium, Spain, Japan, Mexico, Serbia, and Brazil and is fluent in Spanish and Portuguese and speaks French well. She was the recipient of the Language Award in 2008 and the IMIA Lighthouse Leadership Award in 2010 and the Founders Award from the National Medical Interpreter Certification Forum in 2011. Arocha holds a Bachelor in Management from Lesley University, a Translation Certificate from University of Cambridge, England, from 1981, and a Masters in Education from Boston University. Currently she is a PhD candidate at Osaka University, Osaka, Japan. Her most recent international research explores the cultural interface role of medical interpreters

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