The National Council on Interpreting in Health Care is a multidisciplinary organization whose mission is to promote and enhance language access in health care in the United States. After the first national gathering in Seattle in 1994, followed by other meetings throughout the country, leaders came together again in Seattle in 1998 to establish a formal “Working Group.” The NCIHC was later incorporated in 2001. Since then, NCIHC has organized an annual gathering of interpreters, interpreter educators, language services administrators, policymakers, researchers, healthcare providers and language access advocates, around the country. “Moving our meeting to different locations allows the Council to better understand, first hand and in person, the unique needs and challenges faced in different parts of the country,” said Joy Connell, NCIHC President. “Based on areas of need, and with input from our membership, we have gone from the Northeast to the South, to the Mid-West and West Coast, Our goal is to bring together the industry’s leading experts and link them with local communities – this is not about a one-time event, but about creating a lasting impact to improve language access in health care.”
For decades, Seattle language access advocates have been hard at work implementing strategies, at a grassroots level, to address the needs of people with limited English proficiency in King County. From volunteer language banks in the late sixties to the development of some of the first specialized healthcare interpreter training programs in the eighties, Seattle has been one of the communities that have led the charge toward equal access to healthcare for all. Most recently, Seattle has been in the news as the home of the first and only union for healthcare interpreters in the United States.
In addition to its historical draw, The Emerald City offers attendees from across the country the opportunity to visit one of the most beautiful corners of the United States. “Seattle, in early June, is gorgeous,” raves Cindy Roat, longtime NCIHC board and committee member, listing, among others, attractions such as art galleries, museums, musical venues and theaters. Seattle has been named Food City of the Year (2009, GQ Magazine) and one of the "World’s 13 Most Stunning City Skylines" (2009, Forbes.com).
For more information about NCIHC, visit http://www.ncihc.org