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Background

2010 Theme
Ensuring Patient Safety for Language Minority Patients
- A New Standard of Care -

2009 Theme:
Global Perspectives on Professional Medical Interpreters

2008 Theme:
Addressing Health Disparities by Ensuring Language Access to All - it is imperative that our field uphold local, state, and national standards, regulations, and laws that have been in place.

2007 Theme: 
Pioneering Healthy Alliances - uniting the field of medical interpreting for broader language acess in health care for all

2005 Theme:
Re-Visiting the Role of the Medical Interpreter


In the years since the First Annual Conference on Medical Interpreting held in 1996, the field of medical interpreting has grown in ways that few could have predicted. Innovative approaches have evolved into common practices that are being widely disseminated and adapted. Several standards of practice and policy requirements are being adopted at the state and national levels, spreading awareness about the importance of accurate communication and interpreting services to reduce health care disparities due to language access. Medical Interpreter training programs have sprouted across the country and abroad. Grantmakers have recognized the importance of supporting language access projects and facilitating the consolidation of this field of practice, such as interpreter training and credentialization. Health care organizations were not previously focused on these issues but are now hiring interpreters to better serve their culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) patients.

The conferences held to date have played an important role in documenting and motivating progress in this field, and have drawn the interest of attendees from all over the world. Established experts in medical interpreting practice and policy have strongly supported these meetings as an opportunity to share ideas with and lend moral support to each other. National health policy leaders have been invited to participate to share their points of view, and to be educated about the substance of and enthusiasm behind this movement. Newcomers to the field, especially medical interpreters and interpreter managers, have come to learn more about and to gain practical information to take back to their organizations, states & countries.

The format of the conference is grounded in workshop sessions that maximize audience participation, complemented by plenary sessions on key national policy issues. IMIA provides the forum for new experts in the field to develop. This conference seeks to facilitate learning as an ongoing, dynamic and social process, and strives to offer engaging sessions in which diverse participants can form bonds, participate as learners and teachers, and feel integral to the learning process. We believe presenters should make content relevant and meaningful, and offer ways to process information through dialogue, reflection, and application.

At each conference, plenary and workshop presentations highlight innovative strategies by reviewing the status of the profession. Special emphasis is placed on interactive presentations and skills-building workshops. The conference has grown to become �the� annual conference on medical interpreting, and in 2007 will be a two-and-a-half day conference. At the main conference, more than 50 speakers offer skills-building, informational, and plenary sessions on topics ranging from interpreters as patient advocates to designing an interpreting program to very specialized terminology or skills-building workshops.

Technological advances in the field are always a topic of interest, and new modalities of interpretation are always showcased at the conference. Last year the conference offered ASL interpreting services and this year the conference plans to have a job fair and possibly a film festival. The program also includes participatory roundtable sessions, a reception, hospital tours, a job fair, networking opportunities, and more. Communication extends beyond the conference through posting of supporting materials, proceedings and announcements on the www.imiaweb.org website.

Come experience Boston in the Fall. Just as many come from around the world to the yearly Fashion Week in NYC, most in our field have come to Boston in the Fall to unite  the medical interpreting and language access community. Boston is the birth place of medical interpreters, the first being hired back in the 70s, so it is no surprise that the proefssion is mostly developed and continues to advance. Medical interpreting is a fast changing field and this conference is a must if you want to be abreast of the latest changes policies and practices.

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