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
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 BTG’s development.
CCHCP’s 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.
Executive DirectorView Bio
Paulina Bendaña is the Executive Director of CCHCP, and and also serves as a consultant and trainer for CCHCP's Language Access and Equity and Inclusion/Cultural Competency programs. She brings over 35 years of experience in the corporate and nonprofit sectors, particularly in organizational capacity building, strategic planning, and program management. She has extensive experience working with multicultural teams to facilitate cross cultural practices. Paulina was the co-founder of the Sustainable Honduras Conference, a network of organizations that undertake humanitarian programs in Honduras. She has served on several nonprofit boards, and currently is a board member of Pure Water for the World. In her corporate career, Paulina led many initiatives for The Boeing Company – including the development of the company’s country strategies, its international corporate citizenship programs, and environmental policies. Paulina has an M.A. in Economics, and a B.A. in Economics and Latin American Studies. She is a Washington state certified medical interpreter. Paulina grew up in Honduras and has traveled to 35 countries across the globe.
Language Access Program DirectorView Bio
Language Access Program Director
Tamas Farkas is the Language Access Program Director for CCHCP, which includes Bridging the Gap: Medical Interpreter Training and Connecting to Care: Patient Guide Training. Tamas is a linguist, trainer, and interpreter, with fluency in five languages. Born in Budapest, Hungary, Tamas moved to the United States in 1999. He attended the Metropolitan State University of Denver, spending one year abroad in Switzerland studying at the University of Fribourg. After graduating with a B.A. in German and French, he spent a year in San Juan, Puerto Rico learning Spanish. He worked as a medical interpreter before becoming the manager of the Interpreter Network of Spring Institute. He became a trainer for the Bridging the Gap program in 2016 and has been training Bridging the Gap since then. Tamas also enjoys making art and doing outdoors activities like biking and swimming.
Equity and Inclusion Program DirectorView Bio
Equity and Inclusion Program Director
Bryon Lambert is the Director of CCHCP’s Equity and Inclusion Program, including its training and consulting projects. He is a skilled and trained communicator with a passion for sharing principles of equity and inclusion (E&I). With 25 years of leadership in the nonprofit sector, Bryon has developed a passion for value-based service. Bryon 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 role, with a Federally Qualified Healthcare Center (FQHC) in Southern Oregon. While in health care, Bryon served on the leadership team, 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, while maintaining relationships. His history of accomplishments in health care, E&I training, and broadcast communication, coalesced to prepare him to lead CCHCP’s Equity and Inclusion programs. When not spending time with his wife, adult children and grandchildren, Bryon enjoys playing electric bass and acoustic guitar with friends.
Operations ManagerView Bio
Ishani Ghosh is the Operations Manager of CCHCP. Among her many responsibilities, she is CCHCP’s bookkeeper, and manages the office systems and vendors so that everything runs smoothly. Ishani also manages the orders for CCHCP’s publications. Ishani has experience as a travel agent, interpreter, and teacher. She has served on the executive board of Uttoron, an organization dedicated to promoting the culture of Bengal, a state in India. Ishani is well-suited to work in an organization devoted to cross cultural understanding. She has lived in two vastly different multicultural countries – India and the United States.
Communications and Language Access Program CoordinatorView Bio
Communications and Language Access Program Coordinator
Michaela Kiley is the Coordinator for CCHCP’s Language Access program, which includes Bridging the Gap: Medical Interpreter Training and Connecting to Care: Patient Guide Training. Michaela supports the Language Access Program Director with program development, marketing, and outreach in coordination with our language access trainings. She also supports the Executive Director with CCHCP’s communications initiatives. She graduated from the University of Montana with a B.A. in Organizational Communication and International Development Studies. Having worked as an English as a Second Language instructor in Vermont and South Korea, she is passionate about education and is excited to bring her experience in intercultural communication to this position. In her free time, Michaela enjoys hiking, running, and skiing.
Acacia "Kacia" Rogalla
Equity and Inclusion Program CoordinatorView Bio
Acacia "Kacia" Rogalla
Equity and Inclusion Program Coordinator
Kacia Rogalla is the Equity and Inclusion Program Coordinator for CCHCP, supporting the Equity and Inclusion department with program administration, development, outreach, and marketing. Kacia graduated from Northern Arizona University with a B.S. in Strategic Communication, emphasizing in public relations. In her past roles as a media relations specialist and her efforts in community outreach for the 2020 Census, Kacia developed a strong belief in advocating for equitable rights for diverse populations. As a Washington native, Kacia enjoys hiking, Sounders FC soccer and a strong cup of coffee.
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.
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 a Regional Branch Manager at Seattle Credit Union. His job includes providing financial solutions to the membership, while managing staff and all operational functions.
Rob Anderson is Vice President, Global Communications, for USP (United States Pharmacopeia). USP is a nonprofit organization with global reach that sets quality, purity, and other standards for medicines, food ingredients and dietary supplements. At USP, Rob guides strategic communications initiatives to strengthen relationships with important stakeholder audiences and improve understanding of USP’s impact on global health around the world. 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 among 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 also serves on the Board of Directors for 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.