COVID-19 Task Force

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created an unprecedented worldwide disruption on the livelihood of millions of individuals. The International Medical Interpreters Association (IMIA) has been monitoring the pandemic very closely since it was announced and has collected information on how it is affecting our core constituents. Interpreters have been exposed to new occupational hazards, have lost their jobs, and they are seeking IMIA for leadership during this emergency.

In addition, IMIA has received information from the field that people with limited English proficiency (LEP) are not receiving culturally and linguistically appropriate services during the pandemic. Title VI of the Civil Rights Act requires non-discrimination based on national origin. In this case no person shall be discriminated based on the language they speak.


The 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.

Specifically, this IMIA task force will focus on the following items.

  • Guide IMIA to prioritize services to our constituents and partners during the pandemic and during the recovery phase of the emergency.
  • Create educational opportunities, webinar trainings, and professional development.
  • Conduct research on the areas of occupational hazard, and language access services.
  • Create guidance and community outreach strategies to our LEP communities, Deaf, and Hard of Hearing, and for people with functional needs communities by providing communication resources in multiple languages, and any other culturally and linguistically appropriate services and assistance.
  • Identify resources derived from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, such as unemployment benefits, loans, business assistance, etc.
  • Explore the creation of the "Coronavirus Emergency Relief Fund for Interpreters".

David Cardona, MD, MPH - Chair

Dr. David Cardona, MD, MPH, is the President of Donostia D’Carmendi Consulting Group, LLC. He brings to IMIA more than twenty-five years of experience in cultural related issues and in language access services. Dr. Cardona is the former language access coordinator for the Office of Equity and Inclusion at the Oregon Health Authority, State of Oregon. In this role, he convened multiple state agencies, government jurisdictions, community organizations and private sector to advance Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to improve access to services for persons with limited English proficiency (LEP). His duties also included: developing technical assistance, data collection, evaluation of compliance of health systems on language access service to LEP, developed trainings, testing and certification policies and procedures. Dr. Cardona coordinated the development of a comprehensive language access service policy for the Oregon Health Authority and the Department of Human Services. Dr. Cardona was an instructor of public health at the school of medicine of the Oregon Health and Science University and a faculty member at Oregon State University.

John Burke, Fire Chief, City of Sandwich, Massachusetts - Co-Chair

John J. Burke is a 23-year member of the Sandwich (MA) Fire Department where he currently serves as the Chief of the Department. He was previously Deputy Fire Chief over-seeing Operations, Community Risk Reduction and Special Operations and prior to that Fire Prevention Officer and FF-Advanced EMT. He is a Graduate Instructor at the Boston University School of Medicine’s Graduate Program in Healthcare Emergency Management. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fire Science from Columbia Southern University and a Master’s Degree in Healthcare Emergency Management from Boston University. He has designed and delivered over 100 “hybrid” exercises to federal, state and local providers that emphasize learning and integration of private sector resources. The exercises have led to several policy changes and improved inter-agency relationships and well as private sector collaboration. He has consulted for several Federal Agencies on Emergency Management and currently serves as a Guest Lecturer at the Uniformed Health Services University in Bethesda, Maryland and UPENN School of Medicine’s Occupation Medicine Program lecturing on disaster and information management topics.

Xiomara Armas, National Board of Certification of Medical Interpreters

Xiomara Armas is the Chair of the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (NBCMI). With over 10 years in Corporate Finance and leadership, 16 years in Healthcare, and passion for the Medical interpreter Profession to elevate competence through Certification, she brings to her position in the National Board a wide view, strong-combined and broad expertise. She is a Certified Medical Interpreter, member of the International Medical Interpreters Association (IMIA), and the Chair of the Interpreter’s Shared Leadership Council at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta (CHOA). Xiomara’s honors include the “Honorable Mention” in the CHOA 2010 Golden Apple award for her contributions and extraordinary accomplishments in Health Education.

Guadalupe Pacheco, Founder, President/CEO, Pacheco Consulting Group, LLC (PCG), Washington, DC

Founder, President/CEO, Pacheco Consulting Group, LLC (PCG), Washington, DC. Mr. Pacheco previously served a Project Manager for Lockheed Martin Corporation. He was outsource to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service, Office for Civil Rights, to assess and re-launch the office’s civil rights medical school curriculum initiative for medical schools across the country. Mr. Pacheco served as the Training Director for the AIDs Education and Training Center-Multicultural Center (AETC-MC), Howard University College of Medicine. Mr. Pacheco also served as a Senior Health Advisor/Project Officer to the Director, Office of Minority Health, Office of Assistant Secretary for Minority Health, US Department of Health and Human Services. Additionally, Mr. Pacheco provided oversight and review of major public health policies initiatives, including the implementation of the Affordable Care Act of 2010. Currently, Mr. Pacheco serves as a business development advisor to Fusion Technology and to Aerial Applications, companies that focus on providing integrated cloud and drone mapping services to mid-level business entities. Mr. Pacheco received his BA and MSW from California State University of Fresno and has completed course work for an MPA from USC.

Juan Horton, IMIA Past President

Juana Horton is the CEO of Horton Interpreting Services Inc., the largest interpreting and translation company in Rhode Island, working in over 200 languages with over 200+ professional translators and interpreters. Ms. Horton, who is Venezuelan-American, has over 17 years of practical application experience in translating and interpreting. Member of; IMIA, ATA, National Association of Judiciary Interpreters and Translators and the New England Translators Association. In the course of her career, her achievements have been recognized with the following awards: 2000, "Small Business Leader of the Year" the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce. The U.S. Small Business Administration's "RI Minority Small Business Person" of the year 2002 and 2003, Rhode Island and New England's "Minority Small Business Advocate of the Year". 2004, YWCA's Hallmark Women Award, "Women's Economic Empowerment". 2008, "Woman in Business" from the Women's Center of RI . 2007, "Entrepreneur" RI Genesis center. 2006, "Healthcare Business Leader of the Year" national Association of Hispanic Healthcare Executives. 2009, " Influential Women Behind Hispanic Chambers " Morris County Hispanic chamber of Commerce. Ms. Horton currently serves and has served on the following Boards; Boston Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, New England Association of Schools and Colleges, RI Hospital Board of Governors, Butler Hospital Board of Governors, Phoenix House of New England, RI School of Design Arts Committee, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of RI, Providence Foundation, Disciplinary Board of the Supreme Court of RI, Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce, and the Providence Economic Development Partnership Board.

Dennis Caffrey, IMIA Board Member

After completing a successful career in the United States Air Force, specializing in Latin American politico-military affairs, and working as an international consultant throughout Latin America, Dennis Caffrey served for 10 years as a faculty member at the Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies, at the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. His last position was as the Dean of Students, Administration, and Outreach. Since moving to Middle Tennessee in 2008, he has been actively engaged as a freelance National Board Certified Medical Interpreter (CMI) Spanish<>English. He served four years as the Treasurer and Member of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Association of Professional Interpreters and Translators (TAPIT). An active member of the International Medical Interpreters Association (IMIA) since 2011, he presently serves as the IMIA Tennessee State Chapter Chair, as well as a member of the IMIA Board of Directors.

Pano Yeracaris, MD, MPH, Chief clinical strategist of the Care Transformation Collaborative-Rhode Island.

Pano Yeracaris, MD, MPH has over 36 years of medical practice and leadership experience and is the chief clinical strategist of the Care Transformation Collaborative-Rhode Island (formerly CSI-RI), the statewide private/public multi-payer patient centered medical home initiative focused on primary care and health system transformation. Prior additional engagements include; medical director for the CPC Plus National Learning Team and; subject matter expert for the Connecticut SIM Primary Care Modernization project. Pano served for nearly nine years as Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Network Health, a Massachusetts based Managed Medicaid Organization. There he oversaw the entire Clinical Affairs Division and was the architect for its nationally recognized clinical programs. Pano has also served as Chief Medical Officer of Health Services Partnership in Dorchester, MA, and served as Medical Director for its two member community health centers. Pano also worked for 13 years as physician leader at Health Care Plan in Buffalo, NY, a highly respected staff model HMO. Other professional engagements include Senior Clinical and Program Advisor (2016) for the Rhode Island Quality Institute Transforming Clinical Practice Initiative (TCPI) CMMI grant; Senior Clinical Consultant to Northeastern University for a Robert Woods Johnson grant on “Population Health Strategies among Health Plans and Large Provider Organizations; Exploring the Business Case” (2014-2016); and consultant for South County Health on clinical integration (2014). Since 2001, Pano has been a member of the Board of Directors at the New England College of Optometry, where he currently serves as Board Chair. Pano earned a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master of Public Health from Harvard University in Cambridge, MA, earned his medical degree at the State University of New York in Buffalo, and completed his residency in family medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is board certified in family medicine and is adjunct assistant professor of Family Medicine at Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University. He has also been assistant clinical professor at the State University of New York School of Medicine in Buffalo and a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School.

Alexander R. Green, MD, Assistant Professor, Harvard University

Dr. Alexander Green is Associate Professor of Medicine and previous Theme Director for Health Equity at Harvard Medical School, Senior Researcher in the Division of General Internal Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, and a practicing physician at the Family Health Center of Worcester. He received his bachelor and medical degrees from the University of California, San Diego, and completed residency in internal medicine at New York Hospital—Cornell Medical Center, where he later served as Associate Director of the Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency Program. He was a National Health Services Corps fellow in Queens, New York, and completed a research fellowship and Master’s degree in Public Health at Harvard School of Public Health. He served as Associate Director of the Disparities Solutions Center at MGH for 10 years and Arnold P. Gold Associate Professor for Compassionate Care at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Green has served on numerous expert panels, working groups and advisory boards on culturally competent care and health care disparities. His work has been funded by the federal government, local and national foundations, and private donation, and he has authored over 100 articles, chapters, reports, and educational publications. He led a Macy Foundation initiative to design, pilot and disseminate a comprehensive curriculum for medical students and practicing physicians on improving care for patients with limited English proficiency. Dr. Green’s research and programmatic interests focus on culturally competent approaches to quality improvement, language and patient safety, and cultural competence education for health professionals, and physician wellness.

Support Staff

Carolyn Campos, Administrator

Carolyn Campos is the Administrator of the International Medical Interpreters Association – IMIA – since 2016. From 2001 to 2015, Ms. Campos was involved in the health/medical field in the state of Rhode Island in various roles: first as Community Health Worker (CHW) conducting outreach and health education among the Latino community, then as Health Programs Director in charge of overseeing the health programming at a Community Based-Organization serving Latinos and other immigrants, an Spanish medical interpreter, and lastly as the Executive Office Manager for one of the largest interpreting services companies in Rhode Island. She was the co-founder of the Rhode Island Latino Cancer Control Task Force and was involved with the Community Health Innovations of Rhode Island as a facilitator of the Community Health Workers Curriculum. Ms. Campos holds an Associate Degree in Business Administration from the Universidad Francisco Marroquin, Guatemala.

Maria Baker, Outreach Coordinator

María Baker was born in Argentina, and after completing her M.A. in Spanish and TESOL from West Virginia University, in 2013, she began working as a medical and community interpreter and translator becoming fascinated about interpreting and interpreter education. She became a CMI in 2014 and a CHI in 2018. María has conducted interpreting education for healthcare providers and delivered workshops for interpreters. Passionate about language access and professional development, she participates in conferences as a presenter, and is currently the Outreach Coordinator at the International Medical Interpreters Association, Vice-President of the Interpreters and Translators Association of Alabama, and member of the SPD Digital and Social Media Committee.

11/20/2020November Statement on COVID second wave
A message from the Task Force as the second wave of COVID-19 unravels.
05/18/2020A letter from the IMIA president regarding COVID-19
An update of our current efforts and information about the IMIA COVID-19 Task Force (TM)
05/01/2020IMIA COVID-19 Task Force Charter
04/06/2020Letter sent to the President of the United States
03/31/2020Letter to interpreters with resources


NBCMI COVID-19 Interpreter Resources and Information
Information from the World Health Organization regarding the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic

A Round-Up of Multilingual Resources on COVID-19

CDC COVID-19 page (available in various languages)

UCLA COVID-19 Multilingual Resource Hub
COVID-19 information in more than 40 languages.

COVID-19 Glossary in Spanish and English
Hosted by Tremedica

Task Force Statement on the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic

The COVID-19 Health Literacy Project
A national coalition of medical students who have made fact sheets available in more than 30 languages.

COVID-19 infection control guidance for in-person interpreters and health care providers who work with them
Information from the Oregon Health Authority

Occupational Safety Sheet
A safety sheet with recommendations on how to put personal protective equipment on and off, and advice on staying rested and avoiding fatigue.

Emergency Fund Launch Announcement
A document released by our Task Force regarding the Emergency Assistance Fund for interpreters.

Ensuring the Rights of Persons with Limited English Proficiency in Health Care During COVID-19
A Bulletin from the Office of Civil Rights.

CDC YouTube Channel

CDC Videos en español

CDC Recursos de comunicación

Managing stress and anxiety during COVID-19 (in several languages)

Office of Minority Health

CCHI COVID-19 resource page

Oregon Health Authority ADA Guidance for Emergency Managers and Health Authorities

Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 Updates (information in several languages including ASL)

COVID-19 videos in Indigenous languages (Central America)

Translators, interpreters and the CARES Act
A resource from the American Translators Association


IMIA Lifelong Learning Series - Informational Session from the Small Business Administration and the Oregon Secretary of State Ombudsman regarding the CARES Act.
To obtain your certificate, take the quiz here: Earn 0.1 IMIA CEUs (expiring in December)

IMIA Lifelong Learning Series - Vicarious Trauma and the Interpreter
To obtain your certificate, take the quiz here: Earn 0.15 IMIA CEUs

IMIA Lifelong Learning Series - From Trauma to Resilience During the COVID -19 Pandemic
To obtain your certificate, take the quiz here: Earn 0.2 IMIA CEUs. For more information visit

IMIA Lifelong Learning Series - Understanding the Coronavirus Pandemic, a Doctor's Perspective for Medical Interpreters
To obtain your certificate, take quiz here: Earn 0.2 IMIA CEUs. For more information visit

RSI Webinar 1: An Overview of Remote Simultaneous Interpreting
A free webinar from CrossCultural Communications

Series of webinars on remote interpreting
Webinars on remote interpreting and remote simultaneous interpreting provided by Blue Horizon.

ASL Interpreters

MasterWord's Virtual Summer Institute
A series of webinars hosted by MasterWord's Deaf/Hard of Hearing team

ClearMask (transparent face mask)

Safe'n'clear (transparent face mask)

National Deaf Center FAQ on COVID-19 communication

CDC YouTube videos in ASL

The International Medical Interpreters Association (IMIA) is pleased to announce the creation of the IMIA COVID-19 Emergency Assistance Fund to provide immediate assistance and recovery support to interpreters.

The motto of this initiative is "Interpreters Helping Interpreters in Time of Need"

This fund is intended to assist interpreters in funding basic emergent needs as a result of COVID-19 that are not covered by the CARES Act. In keeping with the mission of the IMIA, the goal of the emergency fund is to assist interpreters to buy their own Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) or for any other emergent need associated to COVID-19 they may have.

You are encouraged to donate to this fund since the assistance you may receive is contingent to the amount we are able to collect. The more we collect, the more assistance you will receive.

Once we have collected enough funds, the IMIA COVID-19 Task Force will announce the amount collected, and the guidelines on how the funds will be disbursed.

Applicants will be required to provide a strictly confidential application form, and a declaration of need. Proper identification will be required.

If you would like to contribute to the IMIA Interpreters Emergency Assistance Fund click the PayPal button below.


IMIA is a 501 (c) (6) non-profit organization under the rules of the Internal Revenue Services. Please contact your tax advisor before donating to this fund.