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Friday, April 25, 2014

Forum to address language disparities in Guam

A public forum on “Access to Language Equality” will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014, from 8am to 5pm, at the Guam Westin Resort.

This important forum targets policy makers, directors, program managers, service providers, and Language Access Service providers. It will highlight the significance of Language Access Services (interpreter and translation services) and its vital function in ensuring compliance with civil rights laws as well as mandates that are tied to federal grant awards, particularly in the judicial and health arenas.

More importantly, this forum will reinforce the need for cultural and language competence to ensure equal access for all consumers to appropriate, responsive and quality services and supports regardless of one’s race, ethnicity, gender, age, language preference, literacy, disability, and faith affiliation.

Featured speakers during the forum include retired judge Elizabeth Barrett-Anderson who will speak about the legal mandates and disparities in the judicial system. Dr. Margaret Hattori-Uchima, a professor at the University of Guam’s School of Nursing, will speak on “Marginalization and Health Disparities.” Organizations and individuals interested in learning more about Language Access Services are invited to participate.

Training opportunity

Following the public forum on Jan. 21 there will be two days of intermediate training for interpreters and bilingual staff, to be held on Jan. 22 and 23, 2014 at the same venue. This two-day training will be by invitation only; interpreters are encouraged to attend the public forum as well.


This event is sponsored by a newly formed coalition: Culture and Language Access Service Partners, or CLASP, composed of various government and non-governmental entities. CLASP’s mission is to “work together to address disparities and to support equity for all individuals through cultural and language competency.” CLASP operates under the auspices of the Governor’s PEACE Council (Prevention Education and Community Empowerment under Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center). Member organizations include the Department of Public Health and Social Services (Bureau of Community Health Services, the Guam Office of Minority Health and Project Kariñu, “Loving Our Babies”); Judiciary of Guam; Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center (Prevention and Training Branch, I Famagu’on-ta, and Healing Hearts Crisis Center); Guam Community College; Guam Memorial Hospital; the University of Guam’s Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Research, Education and Service; Guam’s Homeland Security; and the Guam Department of Education.

According to Mariles Benavente, Cultural and Linguistic Competence Coordinator for Project Karinu/UOG CEDDERS, and CLASP member, “the objective of this forum is to facilitate understanding, awareness and resolutions to the ways Language Access Service can be enhanced locally so as to help each of our organizations strengthen and improve our response and service to the diverse cultural and ethnic populations of Guam.”

For registration or additional information, contact June Carino, Judiciary of Guam, at 475-3183; Barbara S.N. Benavente, GBHWC-PEACE office, at 477-9079 thru 9083; or Alex Silverio, DPHSS-GOMH, at 635-7474. (Guam Behavioral Health and Wellness Center)

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