Celebrating an important milestone

By Maria D. Gatej, JD
Director of Educational Interpreter Services
MV AHEC/UMASS Medical School Statewide AHEC
Greater Lawrence Family Health Center

On December 10, 2019, GLFHC’s Merrimack Valley AHEC was pleased to celebrate an important milestone in its healthcare training history: the 25th Anniversary of its first Medical Interpreter Course class of graduates!

We are very proud to share a great health education accomplishment of being able to graduate since 1994 almost 1,500 medical interpreters who are currently practicing in their capacity either as dual role bi-lingual healthcare employees or free-lancers in one of the fastest growing healthcare professions.

On the same evening, we also held the successful graduation of 25 new participants in our Fall’19 60hr. Fundamentals of Medical Interpreting Course  for Spanish language. The program is co-sponsored by the Greater Lawrence Family Health Center / Merrimack Valley AHEC, MassHealth Access Program, Mass AHEC Network/Commonwealth Medicine, and UMASS Medical School Office of Community Programs.

The training is specifically designed for the dual role employees (bilingual/bicultural individuals who work in a health care setting), and it provides students with the basic skills to function as effective medical interpreters and an essential part of the health care team.                     

The  celebration program was opened by John Silva, GLFHC President & CEO who offered the graduates a great, positive  video message, commending them for their hard work and academic achievement. Jim Ryan, AVP, Workforce Development & Grants Management/MV AHEC Executive Director, and Maria Gatej, MV AHEC Director of Educational Interpreters Services also addressed the students proudly applauding their successful efforts.

The pleasant surprise of the program was–besides the course actual instructors- a number of past instructors and graduates along with past MV AHEC staff – all invited as guest speakers-  who joyfully, yet humbly shared with students fascinating facts and stories from their many years’ experience as medical interpreters.

A special note of thank you to Julie Bloise, Marketing & Communications Manager, GLFHC Development Dept. who patiently and gracefully took many pictures, including the great graduation group photo. It was indeed a memorable evening and event reflecting our UMASS Medical School Statewide AHEC Network’s mission of improving the supply and distribution of health care professionals with an emphasis on providing primary health care services for underserved populations.  

Photo caption: The following students completed the course (in alphabetical order):

Sonia M. Aguirre, Sollanlly Arrias, Judit Ayala, Ana Beaudet, Jaime Castillo, Elizabeth Chavez, Ana De Leon, Evan Dentler, Evelin Diaz Pena, Lauribeth Franco, Taisha Gomez, Yasmira Luna, Martha Martir, Yenipher Mendez,

Yves Junior Montilla, Naed Morales, Ana Nunez Delgado, Jose Ortega, Raquel Ortiz, Dianne Perez, Marilin Ramirez, Luz Del Carmen Ramos, Mery Reyes, Flordelina Rosario, Rocio Santana.