Giving Back

The Cross Cultural Health Care Program launched its scholarship program in 2020. In December 2020, Dr. Patricia Dawson, a long-time CCHCP board member and one of the early visionaries who helped shape CCHCP, passed away. In honor of her leadership in the field of health care equity, we have named our scholarship program in her honor.

We provided two scholarships that year for our Bridging the Gap medical interpreting course, and have been providing 2-3 scholarships every year since then. We look forward to providing more scholarships in the years ahead to individuals who are interested in supporting their community through professional training as a medical interpreter.

Our scholarship applications for 2024 are closed! 

Visit our Bridging the Gap page to learn more about the course and upcoming trainings.

Program Sponsors

A big thanks to the Hepatitis Education Project of Seattle for sponsoring one of our 2021 scholarships! The Hepatitis Education Project is committed to improving health of underserved communities disproportionately impacted by viral hepatitis.

2024 Scholarship Recipients

Luar Wolf

As a queer, trans, neurodivergent, Latinx individual fluent in Spanish from a low-income background, Luar’s professional path in Public Health has been marked by resilience and a commitment to marginalized communities. Their experiences with discrimination have taught them self-advocacy and fueled their passion for inclusive environments and health equity. Fluent in Spanish, Luar embraces their cultural heritage and understands the importance of cultural humility in addressing diverse health needs. Their bilingual ability allows them to connect with and advocate for Spanish-speaking individuals effectively.

Luar’s academic and professional pursuits focus on addressing health disparities and exploring social determinants of health. Their roles in reproductive health care and as a Community Health Worker have deepened their commitment to public health and social justice. Their intersecting identities have equipped them with the resilience, empathy, and determination needed to advocate for a more equitable society. Luar is honored to receive a scholarship for the 40-hour medical interpreter training program, which will equip them to become a Spanish medical interpreter. They aspire to ensure that language is never a barrier to quality health care, contributing to a more inclusive and equitable health care environment. This scholarship will support their mission to serve marginalized Spanish-speaking communities and ensure health equity for all.

Wathleine Aladin

Wathleine is a dedicated interpreter and translator with over a decade of experience in delivering precise services between English and Haitian Creole. Fluent in both languages, Wathleine specializes in medical, legal, and LGBTQ+ contexts. Born and raised in Haiti, Wathleine began her career in 2010 with Acts World Relief, providing interpretation for medical staff and emergency teams. Recognizing the critical need for interpreters within the underrepresented Haitian population, Wathleine has continued her work in the community remotely, particularly following Haiti’s political unrest and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Wathleine has worked with organizations such as UNHCR, IOM, and Homeland Language Services, interpreting for the LGBTQ+ community and other vulnerable populations. In addition to her professional work, Wathleine volunteers with Translators Without Borders and is affiliated with platforms like Translator’s Café and Upwork. She holds an Associate of Arts from Southern Adventist University. Passionate about supporting marginalized communities, Wathleine continues to strive for excellence in interpretation.

2023 Scholarship Recipients

Lorelena Hoang

Lorelena migrated to the United States from Mexico at a young age and has been an educator for more than 27 years. As a bilingual educator, she has served students from low-income communities who are learning English and are acclimating to life in the US.

During the pandemic, Lorelena served as an intake medical interpreter for migrant unaccompanied minors who were housed in shelters in a military base in El Paso, Texas and was assigned to a shelter that served COVID-19 positive migrant patients. She considers herself a lifelong learner and intends to be a licensed medical interpreter to better serve the current needs of her community.

Scarlet Chinchilla

Scarlet grew up in Guatemala and migrated to the United States with her family. Her passion for health care inspired her to become a certified medical assistant at a pediatric clinic. Scarlet has been an avid volunteer for local homeless shelters and hospitals and assisted with community outreach.

During the pandemic, she also volunteered for an organization that provides English tutoring for students affected by political conflicts. After the Bridging the Gap Medical Interpreter Training, Scarlet plans to use the skills she’s learned to help address the language barriers that many immigrants face when trying to access health care.

2022 Scholarship Recipients

Thi (Anh) Dinh

Thi was born and raised in Vietnam before moving to the U.S. in 2021. Thi’s prominent marketing role in her company allowed her to collaborate with a variety of organizations in Vietnam including the National Fund for Vietnamese Children and the Youth and Social Work Center of Ho Chi Minh City. Through this work, Thi had the opportunity to help repair and repaint several schools and medical centers across the country.

Having lived in the U.S. for a year now, Thi has experienced various barriers to language that are inevitable when moving to a new country. Because of those experiences, she plans to use the skills learned in the Bridging the Gap course, and her understanding of the differences in culture and health care systems between the U.S. and Vietnam, to help provide access to quality medical services to Vietnamese patients with limited English proficiency.

Paola Ortega

Paola works as a medical interpreter at Children’s of Alabama in Birmingham. Paola has always been passionate about languages as a writer and teacher, but her journey to medical interpreting began as a volunteer interpreter in Cotui, Dominican Republic where she interpreted between patients and English-speaking doctors in various clinics. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Paola also started working as an education interpreter in Tarrant City School District where she serves mainly Guatemalan, Mexican, and Honduran immigrant parents and students.

Through her experience first working as a volunteer, Paola brings to her work a keen sense of cultural competency, compassion, and knowledge of health disparities. After the Bridging the Gap course, Paola plans to use the skills learned to providing qualified and trained interpreting services to the patients and families she works with.

Evelin Torres Martinez

Evelin migrated from Mexico to the U.S. at a young age and has since been interpreting for her family and neighbors during medical appointments. Now Evelin works as a volunteer interpreter and teacher. She conducts English courses for Spanish-speaking students and teaches an introductory American Sign Language course. Evelin also interprets for parent-teacher conferences and for community members in the medical setting by helping set up appointments, interpret during appointments, and translating medical documents.

Through Evelin’s personal experiences navigating language barriers and the U.S. health care system and her work as a volunteer interpreter, she looks forward to gaining additional skills necessary to provide qualified interpreting services for Deaf and Latino communities.

2021 Scholarship Recipients

Rosemary Vergara

Rosemary is a first generation college graduate and is currently enrolled as an MS/MD student at Western Michigan University Homer Stryker School of Medicine. Rosemary speaks Spanish and English and is very active in her community and campus. She is the co-president of the WMed chapter of the Latino Medical Student Association (LMSA), and Public Relations co-chair of LMSA National. She has volunteered with other students at WMed to get COVID-19 vaccines distributed to the Kalamazoo community. She volunteers with the Gospel Church health fairs; works as a scribe for a cardiac clinic; and serves on the national alumni advisory board for the Summer Health Professions Education Program to assist historically underrepresented students in exploring a future career in health related fields.

Through the Bridging the Gap course, she hopes to advance her own skills and empower others in the medical field to advocate for professional interpreter training and better address the needs of the Latino community. Rosemary is proud to have her parents and her younger sister, Diana, as her role model.

Lina Tayem

Lina has a B.A. in English Literature and a higher education diploma in Translation. She speaks English and Arabic and is currently working as a medical interpreter. She has also worked extensively as an Arabic linguistic, translator, and English teacher in Lebanon and Qatar. Working as a translator for clients across various businesses allowed her to gain additional multicultural experience in her career. Lina understands firsthand the challenges of being an immigrant in the United States, dealing with the health care system and language barriers. She became invested in helping other Arabic speakers in her community overcome these same challenges. Lina began volunteering to help immigrants and refugees affected by domestic violence. She provided translation services for Arabic immigrants and refugees with limited English proficiency who needed assistance communicating with government entities.

Through the Bridging the Gap training, Lina hopes to gain the skills necessary to become a qualified medical interpreter so she can help the Arab community gain better access to quality health care services. After the course, Lina plans to obtain her national medical interpreter certification.

2020 Scholarship Recipients

Jiyeon Lee

Jiyeon is a Registered Nurse at the University of Washington Medical Center and has a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania. Jiyeon is proficient in Korean and English. Through her work as an RN and volunteer at Cornerstone Medical Clinic, Jiyeon witnessed the negative outcomes for patients who face language barriers. She now hopes to help other Korean immigrants gain access to quality health care through interpreter services.

Jiyeon is an active volunteer at World Relief Seattle, where she assists refugees and immigrants with resettlement, employment, and English language training. Through the Bridging the Gap training, Jiyeon hopes to develop new skills around the interpreter’s role and the impact of culture so she can be an effective health care provider.

Salimatou Sy

Salimatou is a Senior Cultural Health Navigator at AFAHO (African Family Health Organization) with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Pennsylvania. She is proficient in Mandingo, French, and English. At AFAHO, Salimatou supports the African and Caribbean community with navigating the health care system. She is also member of the Philadelphia International Women’s Project, a partnership that serves women who have experienced Female Genital Cutting.

Salimatou understands the barriers that immigrants in her community face when they are confronted with language barriers and when they lack health insurance. She hopes to use the Bridging the Gap training to provide representation for African and Caribbean immigrants and refugees in health care.