Medical interpreter team "primero" in Oregon to receive national honor

Salem Health’s ten-member Language Access team was recently recognized by the National Board of Certification For Medical Interpreters as the first in Oregon, and one of the first nationally, to have the majority of its members nationally certified.

“I work with a very talented group of people in a place that really cares for its patients,” said Samuel Pino, language access supervisor at Salem Health. “We look for being more professional all of the time, and this was something that was going to be a help for not just our patients, but for the different providers.”

The team, comprised of Spanish and Russian interpreters, passed written and oral exams covering medical terminology, ethics and cultural knowledge to achieve the certification. The need for medical interpreters has become more prominent as a profession in recent years because locally 24 percent of people living in Marion County do not speak English at home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

The Language Access team is trying to advance the new profession by collaborating with Western Oregon University to develop formal medical interpreter training. “We are setting the bar high for interpreters that want to work in this field,” said Pino.

Salem Health produced a short video about the Language Access team and the certification. You can watch it online at:

Salem Health is comprised of Salem Hospital, West Valley Hospital, Willamette Health Partners and other affiliated health care organizations offering exceptional care to people in and around Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley. Visit us at and; follow us on Twitter: @salemhealth; and view us at