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Durham County Interpreter Request Service App Wins National Award from NACo

Post Date:05/29/2019 3:00 PM

Durham, N.C. – Durham County’s Interpreter Request Service application, created by the Durham County Department of Public Health (DCoDPH), has been recognized with a 2019 Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs that strengthen services for residents.


NACo recognized DCoDPH and Durham County Information Services and Technology (IS&T) Department earlier this month for their collaboration in creating the application that allows Durham County employees to create a request interpreter services from their desktop. The app supports clear communication between the employee and their guest. The app, uploaded to tablets already in use by the DCoDPH Interpreter Unit, serves to bridge the language barrier gap by offering Spanish interpretation more accessible for residents using DCoPH services. In addition, the app, offers an easy to use tool for DCoDPH staff to more efficiently implement the Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) standards set by the United States Department of Health and Human Services.


“With this innovation, we have captured most of the requests for services and increased the use of interpreters by employees and guests visiting the Department of Public Health, with a minimum investment,” said Interpreter Unit Supervisor Iris Damaris Hernandez. “The innovation has helped standardized the process and has assured staff that if they request the service, someone will come to assist.”


Between July 2018 and March 2019, the team recorded 10,339 requests from 16 areas within the department. The new application decreased the average response time to an interpretation request from 15 minutes to 38 seconds. Prior to the new application, the long waits resulted in high usage of the private interpretation phone service for Spanish-speaking guests. Due to this increased capacity, the interpretation team saved 79 percent on costs in March 2019 through decreased use of the interpretation phone service.


"Public Health and IS&T worked together to dramatically improve this business process," said Durham County Chief Information Officer Greg Marrow. "We were able to reduce costs and leverage existing investments by creating an application that utilized existing technology."


NACo will recognize award-winning counties at its 2019 Annual Conference and Exposition July 12-15, 2019, in Clark County, Nevada. NACo President Greg Cox said, “Counties implement innovative programs that enhance residents’ quality of life every day. This year’s Achievement Award-winning programs demonstrate how counties build healthy, safe and vibrant communities across America.”


For more information about this award, contact Joanne F. Pierce, Deputy Public Health Director, at (919) 560-7609 or


About the NACo Annual Achievement Award

Started in 1970, NACo’s annual Achievement Award Program selects winners in 18 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services the 3,069 counties throughout the United States provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement and many more. Each nominee is judged on its own merits and not against other applications received.


About Durham County Department of Public Health

Since 1913, the Durham County Department of Public Health (DCoDPH) works throughout the Durham community to prevent disease, promote health, and protect the environment. Guided by Durham County Government’s Strategic Plan, the department works to strengthen the well-being of individuals and families through prevention, education, and partnering with community resources. For more information about DCoDPH, visit, connect with @DCoDPH on Facebook, or follow @DCoDPH on Twitter.


About Durham County Information Services & Technology

The Durham County IS&T Department’s mission is to provide leadership in both tactical and strategic planning, implementation and maintenance of information systems in a timely, high-quality, cost-effective manner to all clients of Durham County Government. For more information about IS&T, visit or follow @DCoTech on Twitter.



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