In-person Course Provides Training on Multilingual Approaches to Research

Children and youth from families who prefer a language other than English are disproportionately excluded from research because of language barriers.

Addressing a shortage of training in specialized multilingual research methods for the biomedical, behavioral, and clinical research workforce, PolicyLab faculty and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) team members are offering a unique educational program to provide researchers with the sensitivity, skills, and knowledge to recruit and engage children and families who prefer a language other than English in research.

Join us May 24-26 at the Roberts Center for Pediatric Research in Philadelphia for the 2023 Short Course on Multilingual Approaches to Research Studies (MARS).

These interactive in-person sessions will strengthen the research workforce by equipping investigators—including those who are themselves bilingual/bicultural—with skills and knowledge to design and manage inclusive protocols that extend health research to these important groups.

Following the course—which features lectures, case studies and small group work—participants will be able to:

  • Articulate the ethical, practical, and scientific justification for inclusion of English language learners in research, including in funding applications
  • Demonstrate fundamental verbal and non-verbal skills for clear, concise interpreter-mediated communication
  • Evaluate and apply different translation protocols
  • Identify and prepare for language-related human and financial requirements across all phases of a research project, from design to publication

This course is tailored to graduate, postdoctoral, early career, and senior investigators whose work is inclusive of children, adolescents and/or maternal-child health. It will also support career development for multilingual investigators from underrepresented backgrounds by providing training to leverage language skills for multilingual research and grant-seeking.

The course targets disciplines including but not limited to public health, nursing, psychiatry, psychology, pediatrics and the social sciences. Bilingual/bicultural applicants are strongly encouraged to apply; however, proficiency in languages other than English is not a course requirement.

To apply for the 2023 Short Course, click here.

Scholarships will be offered to offset financial hardship associated with course fees, travel, child care and/or assistive technology. For more information on the MARS short course, please contact

Hear more from course leadership about the benefits of MARS and what attendees can hope to learn in this video

Course Faculty: 

  • Lisa Ross Decamp, MD MSHP, University of Colorado Denver - Anschutz Medical Campus
  • Ximena Cuellar, MBA, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Katharine E. Zuckerman, MD, MPH, FAAP, Oregon Health & Science University
  • Elizabeth E. Dawson-Hahn, MD, MPH, University of Washington
  • Diana Montoya-Williams, MD, MSHP, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, PolicyLab, and University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
  • Harriet Okatch, PhD, MPH, Thomas Jefferson University
  • Massiel M. Ortega-Rivera, MHA, CMI-Spanish, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Marsha Gerdes, PhD, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, PolicyLab, and University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
  • Ana Martinez-Donate, PhD, Drexel University
  • Ignacio Tapia, MD, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
  • Dieu Truong, PhD, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
  • James Guevara, MD MPH, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, PolicyLab, and University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
  • Roy Wade, MD, PhD, MPH, MSPH, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia & University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
  • H. Shonna Yin, MD, MSc, New York University School of Medicine
  • Tania Maria Caballero, MD, MHS, Johns Hopkins University
  • Manny Jimenez, MD, MS, FAAP, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
  • Gerardo Lazaro, PhD, CHI (Spanish), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Maya I. Ragavan, MD, MPH, MS, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
  • Arash Javanbahkt, MD,  Stress, Trauma, and Anxiety Research Clinic (STARC) at Wayne State University School of Medicine
  • Karen C. Lee, MD, MPH, National Institute of Health

Course Leadership:

  • Priscilla Ortiz, PhD, CMI-Spanish (CHOP) is a certified health care interpreter, language access administrator, interpreting studies researcher and interpreter educator with research training in applied linguistics.
  • Robert Schrauf, PhD, (Penn State University) is a linguist and anthropologist who conducts cross-cultural research and teaches courses in multilingual data collection to doctoral students in the social sciences, education and applied linguistics.
  • Katherine Yun, MD, MHS, (PolicyLab, CHOP) is a health disparities researcher and pediatrician with expertise in multilingual community-based participatory research.
  • Nadège U. Mudenge (CHOP) is a clinical research coordinator whose expertise includes outreach and engagement with refugee communities.

This short course is presented by Language Services, Clinical Futures and PolicyLab at CHOP and Penn State University Applied Linguistics, and is funded by NICHD (R25HD101359).

For updates on MARS offerings, subscribe here.

Interested in learning more about PolicyLab’s emphasis on achieving health equity for all? Explore our Health Equity portfolio here and read more about a PolicyLab-funded project looking to identify best practices to conduct research that aims to reverse long-standing trends in scientific racism.