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 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.

The scholarship application period is currently closed for 2022, but we will offer more opportunities in 2023. 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.

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.