Espi Ralston

President

Espi Ralston, MA, MAT, MA, CMI-Spanish, CHI has been active in the healthcare industry for more than 20 years, coordinating health promotions for Hispanic/Latino families; teaching healthcare professionals in the education departments of hospitals and directing and teaching the UOM Healthcare Interpreting Program.

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In 2004, she worked as director (planning phase) of En Memphis Hablamos Juntos, a one-million dollar project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to provide access to quality health care to limited English proficiency (LEP) Latinos at the Med (currently the Regional One Health Hospital), and to increase the number and improve the quality of medical interpreters.  She has also completed several Train the Trainer intensive health care interpreter courses from Kaiser Permanente and Hablamos Juntos in Oakland, CA, Monterey Institute (CA) and the Cross-Cultural Communication online training program.

Ms. Ralston has taught the Health Care Interpreter Program in Memphis since 2005.  In addition to serving as Program Director and Instructor of the interpreter training program at the University of Memphis, she works as a certified medical interpreter at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, as needed.  She may be reached at .  Ms. Ralston is one of the founders of the TN Association of Medical Interpreters and Translators (TAMIT).  She was the first TAMIT President and she has also served as Vice President and co-Chair of the Membership Committee. She has been an active member since 2007. She is also an active member of the IMIA and the NCIHC.

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Candance Keirns-Bitensky

Education & Events Chairperson

Candance grew up and went to college in Memphis before going to Mexico. I received a degree in medicine at the Facultad de Medicina de León of the Universidad de Guanajuato in the Republic of Mexico and practiced there for about 20 years before returning to the United States. In Boston, MA I worked as an on-call interpreter for Massachusetts General Hospital and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital for 13 years. When I came back to Memphis I became a certified medical interpreter and have worked for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as a PRN interpreter and Link 501 Interpreter Services. Most recently I have been a bilingual contact tracer for the Shelby County Health Department.

Alicia Buckner

Secretary

Alicia Buckner was originally born in Saltillo, Mexico. She graduated with a BA from the University of Memphis, obtained a State of Tennessee Teacher Certificate with endorsements in Spanish and French and taught for 22 years.  Before becoming a teacher, she worked as a bilingual administrative assistant in Mexico and the United States.  Her responsibilities included translating legal documents, contracts, marketing materials, employee handbooks, etc.

She retired in 2009 from the Memphis City Schools and started to work for the YMCA part time as Director of the Multicultural Achievers, a group of Hispanic children and their families that meet on Saturdays for extracurricular and enrichment activities.  She has also taught bilingual nutrition and diabetes prevention programs at the YMCA for children and adults.

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In 2013 Alicia completed the Health Care Interpreter Course at the University of Memphis and is currently a freelance interpreter for several different language services companies, as well as for the University of Memphis Speech and Hearing Clinic.  She has been a member of TAMIT for two years.

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Andrea Sills

Treasurer

Andrea Sills was born and raised in Maracaibo, Venezuela. She graduated from L.U.Z. (La Universidad del Zulia) and hold a bachelor’s degree in Foreign Languages and used to teach English as a second language for several years. Working as an educator granted her the skills and experience to work with children and adults

She moved to Memphis, Tennessee and obtained a certificate through University of Memphis after completing the Health Care Interpreter Course Level I. Ever since then, she’s been working as a healthcare interpreter at Church Health in different settings such as urgent care, family medicine, behavioral health, and specialty clinic.

Claudia Echeverri

Chairperson

Claudia Echeverri was born in Cali Colombia. She completed the University of Memphis Medical Interpreter Certificate program in 2009 and has been a member of TAMIT since then. For the last 13 years she has worked as a medical interpreter for Church Health, a medical and dental service that provides attention to those without health insurance. 

 Claudia has been in the United States for 20 years. She came to Memphis after her 10-year- old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia. St. Jude saved her daughter’s life, and she now lives in Seattle, WA. For her part, Claudia lives with 2 males, Galileo and Da Vinci, 2 adopted 10-year-old black cats. 

Gabriela Cova

Media and Outreach

Gabriela Cova is a native of Mérida in Venezuela. She speaks Spanish and English and has been a medical interpreter since 2018. Ms. Cova studied the first year of medicine in Venezuela and will soon obtain a degree in biology before applying to resume medical studies here in the United States. Previously she worked as a full-time medical interpreter at the Regional One Trauma Hospital.

At the present she is a full-time student and a free-lance interpreter.