Community Interpreter Project (CIP)

The Community Interpreter Project (CIP) is an educational program that relies on a team of paraprofessional student-interpreters who support the overall language access program at the Eric B. Chandler Health Center. Founded in the fall of 1999, it is now a mature program that serves as a nexus for three distinct but interconnected learning communities within Rutgers University and its surroundings:

  • Limited English Proficient (LEP) residents of the Greater New Brunswick area who are Spanish-speaking and choose to receive their healthcare at the Eric B. Chandler Health Center have appropriate access to a wide range of quality primary care services in their native language and in a way that is sensitive to and respectful of their cultural identity.
  • Undergraduate students who are currently studying sciences, with some exceptions, and are ultimately interested in careers in health care join the CIP each fall semester. Student-candidates receive screening and training based on a model of professional interpreting standards and protocols adapted to fit a low-risk, outpatient setting; once student-candidates demonstrate appropriate fluency in Spanish and aptitude for interpreting accurately, they progress to the on-site training phase, the final step to becoming a paraprofessional student-interpreter. Screening, training, continuing education and general support of the paraprofessional interpreters is done by two nationally certified medical interpreters.
  • Medical School Faculty, Residents, medical students and other healthcare professionals have the opportunity to hone their skills in cross cultural communication and, through working with interpreters of all levels, are better able to interact effectively with LEP patients who are Spanish-speaking.

The CIP has led a robust training program for Spanish-speaking staff from hospitals and community health centers throughout central and northern New Jersey since 2010. Our training program takes nurses, medical assistants and other healthcare professionals and trains them to be dual-role interpreters within their institutions. Our screening and training program is based on best practices from the healthcare interpreting field and sets them on a path for certification.