What’s our mission?
The mission of The Cross Cultural Health Care Program is to serve as a bridge between communities and health care institutions to advance access to quality health care that is culturally and linguistically appropriate. We provide resources and training for individuals and institutions with the goal of systems change.
What’s our vision?
The vision of The Cross Cultural Health Care Program is Health Care in every Community, every Community in Health Care. We envision a world where every community in our society has equitable access to quality health care, and where every community has its voice heard, valued, and represented within the health care system.
As we work towards our vision and our mission, we are committed to:
Addressing the needs of ethnic communities and providers in the health care system
Providing relevant state-of-the art educational and training materials
Enhancing professional skills and opportunities for medical interpreters
Enhancing the ability of health care and human services providers to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services
Building the internal capacity of organizations towards stronger cultural competency, and equitable and inclusive practices
It is our honor and privilege to acknowledge that we live and work on the ancestral land of the Duwamish People and other First Nations people. We respect and are grateful for their culture, stewardship, and ongoing contributions to our communities. Together, we can work to eliminate inequities and barriers to access across the fields of health care and human services.
The Cross Cultural Health Care Program (CCHCP) is established under the auspices of the Pacific Hospital Preservation and Development Authority/Pacific Medical Clinics, with a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The grant is in response to the increasingly urgent need to address the diverse health care needs of the growing limited English speaking populations in the Seattle area. In 1994-95, CCHCP conducts a survey of the health care experiences of 22 underserved communities in the Seattle area, and also convenes a National Working Group that meets over a 4-year period. This group serves as the launchpad for several national and state medical interpreter organizations.
The Bridging the Gap (BTG) training program and textbook for medical interpreters is launched – the first 40-hour professional medical interpreter training program in the nation. An advisory group of community members, interpreters, and health care and social services experts provides input to BTGs development.
CCHCPs Equity and Inclusion training on cultural competency is launched. With a second grant from the Kellogg Foundation, CCHCP begins to disseminate its training programs on a national level. The Bridging the Gap medical interpreter course is updated in 1997, 1998 and 1999.
CCHCP serves as the convener and facilitator of the Cross Cultural Work Group on Tobacco for the Washington State Dept. of Health’s Tobacco Disparities Advisory Council. This group is charged with developing the Washington State Strategic Plan on Eliminating Tobacco-Related Disparities. CCHCP’s work on this program continues through 2007.
CCHCP becomes an independent nonprofit organization. Our training materials continue to be updated regularly, as the fields of medical interpreting and cultural competency in health care evolve. Our publications now include many bilingual medical glossaries, eventually growing to 27 glossaries.
CCHCP undertakes an organizational cultural competency assessment for Chicago Children’s Memorial Hospital, one of several major assessments we have undertaken for health care and human services organizations across the nation. We also continue our work in cultural competency training, and in convening community meetings on health care issues on behalf of organizations such as International Community Health Services (ICHS) of Seattle.
2014 - 2017
In 2014, a new edition of our core 40-hour Bridging the Gap (BTG) textbook is issued. In 2015, a new training program, Connecting to Care: Patient Guide, is launched. This new course is an advanced program for experienced medical interpreters as they work with health care providers to help patients navigate the health care system. In 2017, an extended 64-hour BTG medical interpreter training course is launched to include mental health and LGBTQIA health.
In 2022 CCHCP celebrates its 30th anniversary and continues to expand its programs. We are training over 2,000 people annually through our equity and inclusion/cultural competency and language access programs, and working with numerous health care, public health, and human services organizations across the country on various consulting projects from organizational assessments, to community outreach, to equity and inclusion strategic planning. The Patricia Dawson CCHCP Scholarship is in its third year and is awarded annually to two participants of the Bridging the Gap medical interpreter training program. The 24-hour Bridging the Gap in Mental Health Interpreting training is launched in 2022, along with several new mental health bilingual glossaries.
Executive DirectorView Bio
Paulina Bendaña (she/her) is the Executive Director of the Cross Cultural Health Care Program and is CCHCP's senior consultant and trainer. Paulina has led several major training and consulting projects with health care and human services organizations across the United States to develop and implement EDI/cultural competency organizational assessments, with follow-up staff training and advising organizations on implementing steps to strengthen their EDI policies and practices. Paulina brings over 35 years of experience in the corporate and nonprofit sectors, particularly in areas such as strategic planning, organizational capacity building, program management, and working with executive leadership and multicultural teams to facilitate a cross-cultural lens in strategy development and implementation. She also has experience in developing and working with communities on educational and community-building programs in various sectors, including health care, environmental protection, and economic development.
Prior to CCHCP, Paulina was the co-founder and Executive Director of the Sustainable Honduras Conference, a network of organizations that undertake humanitarian programs in Honduras. The focus of this network was to create dialogue and effective partnerships between international and local organizations. In addition, she has served on the boards of international nonprofit organizations that focus on health and economic development, and empowerment. In her corporate career, Paulina led several initiatives for The Boeing Company – including leading the development of Boeing’s international strategies, the development of cross-cultural training for the company’s executives, and leading its international corporate citizenship programs/grants as well as Boeing’s international environmental policies.
Paulina has an M.A. degree in Economics from American University in Washington DC, and a B.A. in Economics and Latin American Studies from Hampshire College in Massachusetts. Paulina is a certified Spanish medical interpreter and also trains CCHCP’s Bridging the Gap interpreter program and has launched new medical interpreter training programs. She is bilingual, grew up in Honduras, and has traveled in 35 countries across the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.
Language Access Program DirectorView Bio
Language Access Program Director
Tamas Farkas (he/him) joined CCHCP in 2019 as the Language Access Programs Director. He has worked with and trained numerous health departments, government agencies, hospitals, language services organizations, universities, and schools on various aspects of medical interpreting and language access. In addition to being CCHCP’s lead trainer for the Bridging the Gap medical interpreting and training of trainers program, he worked on the development of CCHCP’s Medical Interpreting in Mental Health curriculum and has developed other curricula related to language access and equity in health care. In his role at CCHCP, Tamas also has overseen the translation of several medical, mental health, and genetics glossaries.
Tamas is a nationally certified medical interpreter (CoreCHI-P™) with proficiency in five languages. In addition to his native language, Hungarian, Tamas holds a Bachelor’s degree in Modern Languages (German and French). After studying in Switzerland, he lived in Puerto Rico and gained Spanish proficiency. Tamas is passionate about sharing knowledge, which has led him down a path of teaching languages (English, German, and French) in places like the Xi’an Jiaotong University in Xi’an, China, Institut Monte Rosa in Montreux, Switzerland, and Spanish Easy and Fun Language School in Boulder, Colorado.
In addition to teaching, Tamas is also engaged with immigrant and refugee communities. Prior to CCHCP Tamas held several roles with the Interpreter Network, a program of the Spring Institute of Colorado, including roles as Interpreter, Coordinator, Trainer, and Program Manager. He also worked on a grant project to help youth learn about interpreting, which played a role in the eventual implementation of new policies and training regarding language access services for the Denver Police Department.
Other community work Tamas has been involved with includes volunteering with FIUTS (Foundation for International Understanding Through Students), being a Board Member of IMIA (International Medical Interpreters Association), teaching Hungarian with the Hungarian American Association of Washington, being a former Board Member of Recreative Denver and current volunteer of Recreative Seattle.
Tamas also has extensive public speaking experience in the field of medical interpreting and language access. He has presented at conferences and meetings for various organizations, such as ULAC (Utah Language Access Conference), NCIHC (National Council on Interpreting in Health Care), the University of Massachusetts, IMIA (International Medical Interpreters Association), CHIA (California Healthcare Interpreting Association), Kent State University, and the Denver Public Schools. Tamas’s hobbies include creating art, running, and swimming.
Equity and Inclusion Program DirectorView Bio
Equity and Inclusion Program Director
Chandler Lewis (he/him) brings with him over 13 years of experience in childhood and adult education, start-ups, non-profit management, diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and management consulting. He has a long history of working with organizations and institutions that serve under-represented communities, specifically with work that focuses on homelessness, addiction, and mental health. Chandler has a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from the University of Washington and a Masters of Science in Organizational Leadership with an emphasis in public safety leadership from Johns Hopkins University.
Chandler has previously served as the Outreach and Advocacy Manager and Executive Board Member for the National Youth Advisory Board for The National Domestic Violence Hotline and Loveisrespect as well as a CASA/GAL for King County Dependency CASA program. He also continues to be a leader in the community through his involvement as the Executive Board President for Circle of Friends for Mental Health, an organization that provides arts-based programming throughout the Puget Sound region in Washington. Chandler also works extensively with the University of Washington and serves as a Faculty Mentor and Advisor for several programs including: UW CoMotion Advisory Services, UW CoMotion Labs, UW/NSF Innovation Corps, and the Masters of Science in Entrepreneurship Program at the Foster School of Business. Chandler has experience engaging stakeholders of all levels and has provided leadership on projects with some of the following organizations: UW School of Medicine, UW School of Nursing, Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA), United American Indian Involvement, Inc, and the Northern Cheyenne Tribal Health Department.
Equity and Inclusion Program and Communications CoordinatorView Bio
Equity and Inclusion Program and Communications Coordinator
Kacia Rogalla (she/her) is the Equity and Inclusion Program Coordinator for CCHCP. She is also the Communications Coordinator at CCHCP. Kacia supports the Equity and Inclusion department by coordinating training schedules, managing training program logistics, developing training materials, facilitating client engagement and outreach, research, and marketing. In her role as Communications Coordinator, she develops social and brand content across CCHCP’s platforms, designs marketing materials, and executes CCHCP’s communications strategies.
Kacia has a bachelor’s degree in strategic communication, emphasizing in public relations, from Northern Arizona University. In her previous experience as a media relations specialist, Kacia worked with top B2B tech companies by coordinating interviews with reporters, crafting talking points for industry thought leaders, and tracking business trends to drive public relations strategies. She has also worked in community outreach, developing communications and marketing materials as the online media coordinator for the 2020 Census. Kacia’s past roles informed her belief in advocating for equitable rights for diverse populations. In her free time, Kacia enjoys hiking, coffee, and adding to her record collection.
Language Access Program CoordinatorView Bio
Language Access Program Coordinator
Danielle Widjaya (she/her) is the Coordinator for CCHCP's Language Access program, which includes Bridging the Gap: Medical Interpreter Training and Connecting to Care: Patient Guide Training. Danielle supports CCHCP's Language Access Program Director by coordinating the application and registration process for our medical interpreter training programs, client outreach and support, marketing, program development, research, and updates of our textbooks and medical glossaries. She graduated from Seattle Pacific University (SPU) with a B.A. in Sociology and Criminal Justice. Danielle's experience includes coordinating lifestyle programs for senior citizens and developing community jobs for individuals with mental and physical disabilities for a local housing and mental health organization in Seattle, WA. She also worked in higher education at SPU's Career Center and at the International Admissions office. In addition to Danielle's experience with coordinating community programs, she brings an understanding of cultural and language barriers faced by immigrant populations in the United States. Born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia, she is fluent in Indonesian and has proficiency in American Sign Language. Outside of work, she loves spending time with her two cats and playing video games.
Medical Interpreter TrainerView Bio
Medical Interpreter Trainer
Dulce is a Medical Interpreter trainer for our Bridging the Gap and other medical interpreting courses in our Language Access program at CCHCP. Born in Mexico City, Mexico, Dulce moved to the United States in 2013. She graduated from the National University of Mexico with a doctorate in veterinary medicine and later earned her PhD working primarily with wildlife and exotic pets. Her extensive academic and research career in Mexico provided her with broad experience teaching and training in the classrooms, the hospital and online. Dulce's experience includes simultaneous interpreting at conferences in veterinary medicine, and writing, publishing, translating and editing peer-reviewed medical journal articles.
After obtaining a certificate from the University of Georgia, she formally began her new profession as a medical interpreter, working on-site, over the phone (OPI) and video remote (VRI). She volunteers as an interpreter and translator for some nonprofit organizations, and her two favorites are one in her hometown (Athens, GA) which works to end domestic violence, and the other in Chicago whose mission is to provide free essential health care to low-income, uninsured adults. Dulce enjoys reading, knitting, and gardening, but also tries to spend time outdoors with her husband and dogs.
Health Equity Project ManagerView Bio
Health Equity Project Manager
Amir Yacoub (he/him) is the Health Equity Project Manager for the Cross Cultural Health Care Program. A recent graduate of the University of Washington’s Master of Health Administration (MHA) program, Amir brings his experience in health equity, systems design & analytics, community-building, and equity and diversity training to the consulting and training services offered by CCHCP’s Equity and Inclusion team.
With a strong commitment to equity, Amir previously served as a Graduate Student Assistant at the University of Washington's School of Public Health, where he analyzed anti-racism training data to improve equity practices and support admissions processes, and worked with staff and students on educational and process improvement strategies to promote equity, diversity and inclusion. He has also made significant contributions as a Health Equity Intern at Seattle Children's in support of the organization’s ability to provide quality care, developing operational metrics, and facilitating equity and diversity trainings. Among Amir’s community projects, he volunteered at the local YWCA, educating marginalized groups at the women’s shelter in downtown Seattle about health care safety and other initiatives in support of their health and wellness journey.
In addition to his MHA degree, Amir has a bachelor’s degree Health Studies from the University of Washington. Fluent in English, Somali, and French, Amir's multicultural perspective enriches his ability to connect with diverse populations.
Senior AdvisorView Bio
Ira SenGupta was on the founding board of CCHCP and served as its Executive Director for 25 years. After her recent retirement, she continues to serve CCHCP as Senior Advisor. Ira has actively contributed to the field of culturally and linguistically appropriate services as a national trainer, researcher, and facilitator of community conversations. An inspirational speaker, she brings to her work a genuine passion, an energetic style, and applicable tools. Ira is multilingual and has deep roots in the communities accessing health and social services. She is a Fellow of the combined Leadership program of the Disparities Solutions Center at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. She has most recently served on two national committees on standards for training in the language access field. Most notably, Ira conducted three significant pieces of qualitative research that were both national and local in scope with the goal of examining the barriers our emerging communities face in accessing health care. Outside of CCHCP, Ira is expanding her work in Equity & Inclusion, and enjoying the additional time she now has to contribute to the lives of her four grandchildren.
Bryon Lambert is an advisor for CCHCP's Equity and Inclusion Programs. Bryon is the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Director for La Clinica Health, a Federally Qualified Health Care Center in Medford, OR. He also supports the work of Jackson Care Connect, a Coordinator Care Organization (CCO), serving members in Jackson County, Oregon. Bryon was recently selected to serve on the Health Center Workforce Diversity Data and Metrics National Advisory Group being convened by the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) in collaboration with The George Washington University (GWU) Fitzhugh Mullan Institute for Health Work Force Equity. He is a skilled and trained communicator with a passion for sharing principles of equity and inclusion with an emphasis on building and sustaining relationships. With 25 years of leadership in the nonprofit sector, Bryon has developed a passion for value-based service. He holds a B.A. degree from the University of Illinois at Springfield in Communication, with an emphasis in Meaning Systems. For many years, he worked in Public Radio, as an administrator and broadcaster, before accepting a leadership role in health care administration. While in health care, Bryon worked to improve service to patients, and chaired the organization's Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Council. Through lived experience and extensive training, Bryon has developed expertise in creating and teaching E&I curriculum that focuses on a connections-based philosophy for eliminating inequities. His history of accomplishments in health care, training, communications, and two years as the director of CCHCP's Equity and Inclusion Program, coalesced to prepare him for the next step in his pursuit of excellence in equity and inclusion, in support of the vulnerable and disenfranchised.
Jayden Aubryn (they/them) is a consultant for CCHCP. Jayden integrates their training as a psychotherapist specializing in complex trauma and lived experience as a Black, queer, non-binary person to provide trauma-informed racial equity consulting services. They are the founder of TISE Consulting, LLC and are an active member on the King County Equity Cabinet. They hold a Bachelors in Psychology from Cleveland State University and a Master's in Social Work from University of Kentucky. They also maintain certifications in Dialectical Behavior Therapy, School Social Work, and Mental Health Integrative Medical Providing. Jayden has experience in providing trauma-informed racial equity coaching, consulting, trainings, and strategic planning in settings as varied as educational systems, large non-profits, individual coaching, and county-level initiatives. They believe in holistic healing, using effective communication, art, music, and somatic movement to heal the trauma of internalized biases at the micro, mezzo, and macro level.
Melia LaCour is the Founder and Executive Director at Becoming Justice, in Seattle, Washington. The mission of Becoming Justice is to collaborate with organizations to ignite and facilitate transformational leadership and systemic change through healing and alignment of hearts, minds, and actions to create racially just systems. Melia has a master's degree in social work from the University of Washington and a bachelor's degree in psychology from Western Washington University.
Board of Directors
Dwight Wheaton is a partner at Cairncross & Hempelmann and serves as the President of the CCHCP board. His law practice covers numerous sectors, including multinational companies, and issues related to nonprofit law and governance, tax law, corporate governance, and organizational structure, among others. With this expertise, Dwight brings extensive experience to CCHCP. He is a firm believer in CCHCP's mission of improving access to quality health care for the underserved.
Vice PresidentView Bio
Bob Kaplan is a Seattle-based attorney, now retired from his practice, and serves as the Vice President of the CCHCP board. His practice included the representation of small businesses, tax-exempt organizations, artists, and authors. He has been recognized for his pro-bono work by the American Bar Association. He has a long history of involvement in the community health movement in Seattle and was a board member of the Pacific Hospital Preservation & Development Authority (which gave rise to Pacific Medical Centers and to CCHCP). He is currently a board member of the Seattle Art Museum. Bob has been a longtime advocate for the work and staff of CCHCP.
Dale Morris serves as the Treasurer of the board. He has been involved in the Seattle community for quite some time, and served on the board of Byrd Barr Place, formerly Centerstone/CAMP, a nonprofit organization assisting low-income and under-served communities to better their lives. He also serves on the advisory board of JUMA, a nonprofit social enterprise that operates businesses with the purpose of employing young people. Dale is the VP of Retail Operations at Verity Credit Union.
Rob Anderson is the Vice President of Corporate Affairs (US) at Boehringer Ingelheim in Ridgefield, Connecticut, and President of the BI Cares Foundation. Boehringer Ingelheim is a global group of biopharmaceutical companies that focuses on research in areas of high unmet medical need. Prior to joining Boehringer Ingelheim, Rob was the Vice President of Global Communications for USP (United States Pharmacopeia), a nonprofit organization that sets quality, purity, and other standards for medicines, food ingredients, and dietary supplements. He previously served as Executive Vice President at Rabin Martin, a global health management consulting firm. Rob also played an integral role in campaigns to reduce smoking and tobacco use amount youth and adults through prevention and smoking cessation programs and clean indoor air initiatives.
Tom Byers is a retired public policy consultant and a founding partner of the Cedar River Group. He helped to create Country Doctor Community Clinic and served as the clinic's first director. Tom has led numerous health care, environmental and community development initiatives that have had an enormous impact in Seattle and Washington state. He served as an assistant to Mayor Charles Royer from 1978-1990, and as Deputy Mayor of Seattle from 1998-2002. Tom wrote the original proposal that led to the formation of CCHCP and was central to establishing our organization as an independent nonprofit. He is currently serving as a member of the Seattle Board of Park Commissioners, the Board of Directors of Friends of Waterfront Seattle, and the national Board of Mercy Housing, the nation's largest nonprofit affordable housing developer.
Dr. AeuMuro Lake
Dr. AeuMuro Lake
Dr. AeuMuro Lake, MD, is the Medical Director and Owner of Urogynecology & Healing Arts in Seattle. Dr. Lake earned her medical degree from the University of Kentucky. Inspired by the need for compassionate care of women after their childbearing years and her love of vaginal surgery, Dr. Lake went on to complete her postgraduate residency training in Obstetrics & Gynecology at UMass Memorial in Worcester, MA and sub-specialty fellowship training in Female Pelvic Medicine & Reconstructive Surgery at Yale School of Medicine. She is board-certified in both Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery and Obstetrics & Gynecology. Part of her practice philosophy is that through not only medications and surgery do we heal, but also through witnessing and being with each patient on their journey in health and life. Prior to starting her own practice, Dr. Lake was the Director of Pelvic Health at Swedish Hospital in Seattle.
Mikaela Louie is a health care attorney at Foster Garvey PC. Her practice includes representation of public hospital districts and other health care organizations. Before attending UW School of Law, Mikaela was the manager of the CCHCP cultural competency programs. In that role, she worked as a consultant and trainer for a variety of health care institutions, including FQHCs, government health agencies, and private hospital systems around the country. Mikaela serves on the Board of Directors for the Alzheimer's Association, as well as on the board of the Alzheimer's Association Washington State Chapter, where she co-chairs the Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She strongly believes that CCHCP plays a critical role in eliminating health disparities and increasing the delivery of equitable, culturally responsive health care.
CCHCP is a member of the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (NCIHC).
CCHCP is a member of the International Medical Interpreters Association (IMIA).
CCHCP is a member of the Northwest Translators & Interpreters Society (NOTIS).
CCHCP is a founding affiliate of the World Council on Intercultural and Global Competence.