History of the Program

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History of the Program

In the spring of 1996, the CCSF Health Science Department (now the Health Education and Community Health Studies Department) was contacted by Kaiser Permanente to consider a partnership to train health care interpreters. Gayle Tang, MSN, RN provided the spark that brought this program into existence. As a Kaiser nurse, she heard many untrained interpreters struggle to convey messages between patients and providers. She envisioned a comprehensive training program, and knew that placing it in a community college, dedicated to vocational education would be the perfect fit. Terry Hall, now CCSF Dean of the office of Instruction provided the institutional support to begin this program. As then department chair, he shepherded the curriculum proposal through the many hoops needed to gain course approval, and facilitated the early institutionalization of the courses and later, their conversion to a fully accredited certificate program. With his support and encouragement, the program has grown to its current capacity, with a program coordinator, two instructors, and many language coaches. The Regional Health Occupations Resource Center has also played a vital role in the growth of the CCSF HCI program. They assisted in bringing both content and resources to the program. Our current department chair, Tim Berthold has supported the current and exciting development of the HCI program. Under his direction we were awarded a generous grant from the California Endowment to formalize the instructional methodology so that other community colleges can easily implement similar programs. He has also spearheaded the full funding of the language lab component of the program, often pointed to by students as the most important aspect of their studies. The program has now entered an expansion phase as a training model for healthcare professionals committed to providing culturally and linguistically appropriate services.