Language Services Committee - Connecticut Multicultural Health Partnership

Language Services Committee


To contribute to the overall mission of the Connecticut Multicultural Health Partnership by ensuring that language in not a barrier to the receipt of appropriate health care and health education through the promotion of language proficiency in the written and spoken communications of health professionals and organizations.


Marisa Gillio, Yale New Haven Hospital/EAHEC/Language Link

Paula Mann-Agnew, Director of Programs, Catholic Charities

To join this committee, please contact us at or

Past Initiatives:


Design and implement a survey of local health departments and community health centers in Connecticut to identify current language access services and gaps in services in these settings and communicate these findings to the Partnership for proper dissemination.

Language Needs and Services of Local Health Districts and Community Health Centers

The Language Services Committee is working to ensure that language is not a barrier to the receipt of appropriate health care and health education through the promotion of linguistic competency to health professionals and organizations. The Committee chose to conduct surveys of both Local Health Departments (LHDs) and Community Health Centers (CHCs) because an evaluation of available language access services in these community resources for health care has not been documented.

Click here for the complete report: Language Needs and Services of Local Health Districts and Community Health Centers


Past Events

Cultural and Linguistic Services Symposium

The Connecticut Multicultural Health Partnership was proud to be a sponsor of the Cultural and Linguistic Services Symposium held on October 25, 2012 at Yale University.  Over 80 participants ranging from nurses, doctors, social workers, interpreters, patient navigators, hospital administrators, and community advocates came together to learn about opportunities to promote a positive and cooperative understanding of the importance of cultural and language justice.

“The purpose of the Symposium was to get everybody into the same room to work together, avoid duplication of efforts, and more effectively takes action steps to address health inequities by implementing Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Service (CLAS) standards,”  stated Maris Gillio, CMHP Language Services Committee Co-Chair.

The day was full of diverse and dynamic speakers. Welcoming remarks were made by Katherine Kranz Lewis, Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Health and Raul Pino, Director of Health of Hartford Health and Human Services.  Mr. C. Godfrey Jacobs of SRA International provided a presentation on CLAS standards.

CMHP Chair, Brad Plebani provided a closing presentation that highlighted the exciting launch of an initiative for state certification of interpreters that would lead to Medicare reimbursement for cultural and language services.

CLAS standards is about the provision of healthcare services that is respectful of, and responsive to the health beliefs, practices and needs of a diverse patient population, is an strategy that can be used to close the gap in health care system and improved patient care outcomes.

“I was proud to be told by participants that they felt the symposium was successful in not just a being ‘language’ symposium but a human symposium,” said Marisa Gillio. “The pursuit of health equity must remain at the forefront of our efforts; we must always remember that dignity and quality of care are the rights of all and not the privilege of the few.”

To view photos from the symposium, click here. (Photos taken by Tom Ficklin, Communications Committee Co-Chair)

Language Access Services Symposium for Health Administrators

On May 16th, 2011 the Language Access Services Committee held a successful symposium for Health Administrators at the Connecticut Hospital Association in Wallingford, Connecticut. The event brought together national experts on effectively addressing language barriers who shared their knowledge formally and informally through presentations, panel discussions and side bar conversations. Health Administrators from across the state of Connecticut attended the event and participated in the great exchange of information.

Guest speakers included:

  • Christina L. Cordero, Ph.D, MPH, Associate Project Director in the Department of Standards and Survey Methods, Division of Healthcare Quality Evaluation at The Joint Commission
  • Peter K. Chan, Regional Manager of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Region I
  • Izabel S. Arocha, M.Ed., CMI,  Executive Director of the International Medical Interpreters Association

In an effort to increase awareness of effective strategies for addressing language barriers and to encourage the continued sharing of this important information, you will find each of the guest speaker’s presentations as well as their individual biographies posted below:

Christina L. Cordero, PhD, MPH Biography

“Advancing Effective Communication, Cultural Competence, and Patient- and Family-Centered Care: A Roadmap for Hospitals”

Peter K. Chan Biography

“How the Office for Civil Rights enforces Title VI of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 to ensure language access!

Izabel S. Arocha, M.Ed., CMI Biography

“How to qualify your bi-lingual employees as medical interpreters!”

Tom Ficklin, President of Ficklin Media covered the event, the photo album can be accessed through the following link: **************L.A.S. Symposium for Health Administrators Photo Album