TAHIT
Texas Association of Healthcare Interpreters & Translators

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President 

Manuel Higginbotham

(Elected Even Years)


Manuel Higginbotham, CHI , CMI - Spanish, is a language professional with a passion for advocating on behalf of the Limited English Proficient community.  He has leadership experience in VRI, OPI, and hospitals, as well as having owned his own language consulting and training company. More than 40 hospitals across the US have relied on his expertise in developing language access plans and training interpreters.  Manuel oversees the Language Access Services Department for hospitals in the State of Texas hospital system and is based in Galveston.  He has written curricula for his own 40-, 64-, and 80-hour interpreter training courses and provides CEU trainings and courses for national certification.  He sits on CCHI's EtoE National Task Force and currently serves as the president of TAHIT.  In his spare time, you can find him playing volleyball or watching his alma mater, The Ohio State University, become national football champs!

Vice President

Waleska Bonthrone

(Elected Odd Years)


Waleska Bonthrone, B.S., is the owner of Spanish For All Austin, L.L.C. (SFAA), a boutique agency located in Austin, Texas, that provides healthcare interpreting, translating, and healthcare interpreting training services. She has considerable experience as a qualified healthcare interpreter in a wide range of settings, especially rehabilitation therapies. Waleska identified training needs in the Healthcare Interpreting field and in 2013 created the first individualized program offered in Texas, the U.S., and worldwide: SFAA’s Premium One-on-One Online 40 Hour Healthcare Interpreter Training. She currently serves as the Vice President of TAHIT and is a former Secretary and Executive Board Member of TAHIT, a former Chair of the Board of Directors of NBCMI, a former IMIA Texas Chapter Chair, and a former Director of Membership of AATIA. In her spare time, she likes gardening with her husband and their four fur babies.


Treasurer

Fabian Robles

(Elected Odd Years)


Fabian Robles, CHI™, was born in Austin, Texas. He grew up in Venezuela where he Graduated from Medical School at the Central University of Venezuela in 2007. In Venezuela he was part of the Urban Search and Rescue Team for approximately 8 years.  With his extensive Medical knowledge as a physician and the desire to help the most vulnerable Fabian started interpreting in 2011 for a Rehab facility in Austin. Currently he is a Supervisor of Network Language Access for Seton Family of Hospitals, part of Ascension Health in Austin since 2015. He works very closely with a team of 20 onsite interpreters as well as VRI and OPI technologies on a day to day basis. He enjoys his time off practicing Martial Arts and with his family.



Secretary

Melissa Wallace

(Elected Even Years)


Melissa earned her Ph.D. in translation and interpreting studies from the Universidad de Alicante, Spain. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of Translation and Interpreting Studies at the University of Texas at San Antonio where she also directs the Graduate Certificate Program in Translation and Interpreting Studies. In addition to being a Licensed Court Interpreter (LCI-master level) and a Certified Healthcare Interpreter, Melissa was an active appointed member of the Standards and Training Committee of the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (NCIHC) for 5 years, and is currently co-lead on the Webinars Work Group of the NCIHC’s Home for Trainers initiative (since 2012). Further service includes work on the Executive Board of ATISA (the American Translation and Interpreting Studies Association), appointment to two state supreme court advisory boards on interpreter issues (in Texas and Wisconsin), and currently a board member of SSTI, NAJIT’s research and educational    

                                           non-profit foundation.


Evidence-based Practices Chair

Dr. Jacqueline Stout-Aguilar

(Elected Even Years)


Dr. Stout-Aguilar was raised in Oaxaca, Mexico and has resided in Texas since returning to the United States. She serves as the Program Manager for Evidence-Based Practice at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston Texas. Her background includes obstetrical and oncological nursing with her primary research interests being music therapy in the NICU and interprofessional education. Dr. Stout-Aguilar has served as a medical interpreter with UTMB since 2011 and looks forward to conducting research and evidence-based practice projects related to healthcare interpretation and translation.

Membership Committee Chair

Alma V. Sliger

(Elected Odd Years)


Alma V. Sliger is a passionate language professional who has been part of the Language Access team at UTMB for the past 7yrs. Alma has a deep personal connection with the population she serves as she herself once was monolingual and values the opportunity of now being the link that allows for clear communication between provider and patient. For Alma being an interpreter is a daily rewarding experience, from working with utmost compassion to help the LEP community to doing continuous research to strengthen her interpreter skills, being an interpreter is not just a job is a passion! On her time off Alma enjoys spending time with her daughter, husband and puppy.

Outreach Chair

Mona Elshenawy

(Elected Even Years)


Mona Elshenawy, MA, CHI™ is a community engagement professional; founder of Culture Impact, a multicultural marketing consulting firm. Mona obtained a Master’s Degree in Medical Sociology from Texas Woman’s University and completed undergraduate work at The American University in Cairo, Egypt. She has worked for over a decade as a Spanish interpreter, community health manager and research consultant for Texas Health Resources, Children’s Health and other large healthcare systems in North Texas. As a qualitative researcher she studies the complex ways in which clinical communication transpires in hospital settings; specifically as it’s manifesting with the advent of telemedicine and virtual health.



Professional Development Chair
Frank Muniz
(Elected Odd Years)

Frank Muniz, MBA, CHI, has held numerous positions in the insurance, financial, and healthcare fields, and has served in various roles, including 5 years in language access and assistance (OPI, IPI, VRI) and over 10+ years in leadership, project & quality management, operations, patient services, training, and education. Having lived in Puerto Rico and in several other states—like NY, IL, NC, SC, and TX—and worked with diverse groups, Frank understands how the lack of language proficiency can become a barrier not only to give someone a voice, but also access to quality of care. His mission is to serve a resource to others and continue bridging cultural and communication gaps that negatively affect our vulnerable LEP community, contributing and advocating for a better quality of life.



Social Media Chair

Jason Harris

(Elected Odd Years)


Jason has spent 9 years in the mortgage servicing industry in workforce management fine tuning his technical and analytical skills. He is currently working for the University of Utah in the Genetic Science Learning Center as a web developer. His team runs the top-used genetic educational website for students and teachers in the world. Because of that success, his department received a National Institute of Health (NIH) grant to work on the All of Us grant. The All of Us grant’s goal is to get a more diverse genetic sample of one million+ participants living in the United States. This research will help give scientist a bigger dataset to make scientific discoveries with a focus on health. Jason's team creates  educational assets such as pamphlets, VR simulations and websites, which will be presented to study participants.