Creating and Evaluating Skills-Based Training in Working with Spoken-Language Interpreters for Oral Health Professions Students

Karin Quick, Tehout Selameab, Anne Woll, Cristiano Mazzei, Jane L. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In a multicultural society, the ability to work effectively with spoken-language interpreters is a critical skill for oral health professionals. The aims of this study were to design and evaluate training for oral health professions students to work effectively with interpreters as a health care team. A total of 89 University of Minnesota dental, dental hygiene, and dental therapy students and 41 Century College translating and interpreting students participated in the elective three-hour training from 2016 to 2018. The 89 oral health professions participants were invited to respond to a seven-item survey about working with interpreters and patients who are limited English proficient (LEP), along with a comparison group of an additional 462 oral health professions students who did not participate in the program. Of the oral health professions participants, 49 responded to the survey, for a 55% response rate; and 245 of the comparison group responded, for a 53% response rate. A qualitative focus group with 11 program participants and inductive analysis provided further insights. The differences between participants' pre and post self-ratings were statistically significant (p<0.001) for each of the seven survey questions. After training, students were more familiar with provider and interpreter best practices and the context for patients who are LEP, as well as more confident in their skills to work effectively with interpreters. Student focus groups identified training relevance and necessity and learning format as the most significant success factors. This project highlights the process and value of creating these experiences for and with students and the value of simulation to develop knowledge, skills, and confidence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)645-653
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of dental education
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank all participating Century College interpreting students, University of Minnesota oral health professions students, and School of Dentistry faculty facilitators; the University of Minnesota Interprofessional Resource Center staff; and Century College, the Century College Translating and Interpreting Program, and Rachel Herring. This project was supported through a Minnesota Department of Health Clinical Innovations Grant.


  • dental education
  • health care access disparities
  • interprofessional education
  • intraprofessional education
  • limited English proficiency
  • public health dentistry
  • simulation training
  • spoken-language interpreting


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