Samford's Healthcare Interpreter Training (HIT) certificate program, which trains individuals who are bilingual in English and Spanish to become qualified interpreters in a medical setting, has received a 2006 Distinguished Non-Credit Program Award from the Association of Continuing Higher Education (ACHE). The national award was presented to Samford Metro Programs Executive Director Cindy Kirk at the recent ACHE meeting in Los Angeles.
The HIT program was one of two ACHE national award winners in non-credit education this year. Last spring, ACHE cited the program as the Distinguished Non-Credit Program in the Southeast.
Samford introduced the certificate program in the fall of 2004, and the first 21 students completed the program in the spring of 2005. The program includes both traditional classroom activities and field experience, and brings together several campus departments and community organizations serving Birmingham's Latino population.
"These interpreters are now better equipped to bridge the communication divide between healthcare providers and limited-English-proficient patients," said Dr. Kirk.
A second HIT course began in September and will conclude in April, 2007. HIT Classes meet on Tuesday evenings and alternating Saturdays.
The ACHE award came as Samford prepared to celebrate Nontraditional Student Week in mid-November. The university's Metro Programs, of which Samford After Sundown is a part, are designed to serve the unique needs of such students, who are older than the typical18-22 year-old residential undergraduates and may have work and family obligations that require evening study schedules.