Archive of Speakers

Since 2005, medical interpreters have had the opportunity to participate in lively, interactive discussions of current trends and issues in the field during the annual Paving the Way to Health Care Access conference.

Past conferences have featured a variety of keynote speakers:


David Scales, MD, is a third year resident in Internal Medicine at Cambridge Health Alliance actively involved in research and writing.  His background is in medical sociology, using qualitative research methods to understand structural determinants of health.  He has studied health access barriers for Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, interpreted for Iraqi refugees in New Haven, and worked with Syrian refugees in Za'atari camp and a spinal cord injury center in Jordan.  Dr. Scales' academic writing has focused on infectious diseases and the structures and policies that stymie our ability to deal with them.


Wyatte Hall, Ph.D., is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychiatry at University of Massachusetts Medical School.  He is a recent Deaf graduate of the Clinical Psychology Doctoral Program at Gallaudet University, the only liberal arts university for the Deaf in the world.  His experiences with interpreters range from using them as a K-12 student, to collaborating within the therapy room, and everything in between.  For the past two years, he has had a personal interpreter, Marlene Elliott, CI/CT, for his professional work.  As both a patient and a provider, he will contribute his perspective on working with interpreters in different roles, professionalism, and knowing when your patient really understands the language.


Dr. Geri-Ann Galanti, is a leading expert in the field of cultural diversity, with over 30 years of experience.  She received her doctorate in Anthropology from UCLA with an emphasis in medical anthropology.  She has been on the faculty of the School of Nursing at Cal State University, Dominguez Hills, the Anthropology Department at CSU Los Angeles, and is currently teaching in the Doctoring Program at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine, where she received an Outstanding Teacher Award.  She has written numerous articles, as well as the highly acclaimed book, Caring for Patients from Different Cultures.


Rachel Gershon, JD, MPH, is a senior research policy analyst at the Center for Health Law and Economics (CHLE), part of the University of Massachusetts Medical School.  CHLE engages in health care system improvement and health policy analysis.  Rachel's work focuses on improving access to quality health care for low-income individuals.  Rachel started her career as an AmeriCorps VISTA, implementing a voluntary prescription assistance program at CHOICE Regional Health Network in Washington State.  Immediately prior to joining CHLE, Rachel represented clients at Whitman Walker Clinic, a community health center focused on the needs of the LGBTQ community, and engaged in national public benefits policy work with the National Senior Citizens Law Center.


Panel discussion on certification for medical interpreters


Claudia V. Angelelli, is the author of Medical Interpreting and Cross-cultural Communication (Cambridge University Press), and Revisiting the Role of the Interpreter (John Benjamins) and the co-editor of Testing and Assessment in Translation and Interpreting Studies (John Benjamins).  Her articles appear in Interpreting, META, MONTI (Monografias de Traduccion e Interpretacion), The Translator, The Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, The Critical Link, TIS (Translation and Interpreting Studies) and The ATA Chronicle.  She is the author of the first empirically-driven language proficiency and interpreter readiness test for The California Endowment and Hablamos Juntos.  She is president of ATISA, World Project Leader for ISO Standards on Community Interpreting and Director of The Consortium of Distinguished Language Centers.


Cynthia E. Roat, a national consultant on issues related to language access in health care, began her career working in rural areas of Latin America and then became a medical and social service Spanish–English interpreter in the U.S. Her interest in systems change led her to teach interpreters, trainers, and medical providers about interpreting. She also advises administrators on how to improve their health systems’ language-access programs. Ms. Roat is the author of key resources in the field and the primary developer of Bridging the Gap, the country’s most widely offered training for health care interpreters. She is a founding member of Seattle’s Society of Medical Interpreters, the Washington State Coalition for Language Access, and the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care.

Warren Ferguson, M.D., Vice Chair of UMass Medical School’s Department of Family Medicine and Community Healthy, teaches medical students and family practice residents and focuses on curriculum development regarding service to underserved populations. He has written extensively on teaching methods aimed at improving students’ cultural competency. He led the development of a cultural competence curriculum for faculty development. In 2000, he was awarded a five-year Cooperative Agreement from the Health Resources and Services Administration to provide consultations to the National Center for Cultural Competence. Dr. Ferguson has been engaged in health policy work and research regarding health care quality for vulnerable populations. He was Principal Investigator of a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation aimed at improving interpreter services at UMass Memorial Medical Center and Co-Principal Investigator for a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant to study the impact of trained community health workers on improving diabetic care outcomes in a network of Massachusetts community health centers.


Dr. Lori Arviso Alvord was the first Navajo woman to be board certified in surgery. In her work with Navajo patients she learned that modern scientific medicine by itself could not reestablish the missing harmony in their health. Dr. Alvord works to heal, not just fix, her patients by working with families, other practitioners, and constant cultural awareness. She looks for the places in the patients’ lives, relationships (both personal and with health care providers), and environment where things are out of balance. Dr. Alvord bridges two worlds of medicine — traditional Navajo healing and conventional Western medicine — to treat the whole patient. She provides culturally competent care to restore balance in her patients’ lives and speed their recovery.

Nataly Kelly, is an author, consultant, and advisor with a specialized interest in interpreting services, particularly remote language mediation, such as telephone and video interpreting. As a consultant, Ms. Kelly has assisted with the design of a language access curriculum for Georgetown University Medical School and presented to health care providers as a member of a national speaker’s bureau for Pfizer’s Quality Forum programs. She is an invited member of the National Project Advisory Committee for a web-based training program for culturally and linguistically appropriate disaster response offered through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health.


Matthew R. Mock, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Multicultural Development for the California Institute for Mental Health, is the recipient of numerous awards and commendations including the 1994 Cultural and Economic Diversity Award by the American Family Therapy Academy and the 2000 Cultural Competence Award (California). He is third-generation Chinese American and highly committed to diversity, social justice, equity, cultural competence, and community issues. Dr. Mock also serves as Director of the Cross Cultural Program and Professor of Psychology at the Graduate School of Professional Psychology at John F. Kennedy University focusing on diverse children and families.

Diane C. Pinakiewicz, President of the National Patient Safety Foundation, has a commitment to patient safety that stems from many of focusing on systems to improve patient care within the health care industry. Ms. Pinakiewicz has been on the faculty of multiple programs, including Harvard’s program for Executives in Managed Care, and has lectured extensively on patient safety, financial and organization implications of managed care, value-based partnering in health care, and internet strategies for pharmaceutical companies. She has published on the topics of patient safety, value-based partnering, and managed care financial strategies.


Sarah Jones, is a Tony Award winning playwright, actor, and poet. Her multi-character solo shows include Bridge & Tunnel. Ms. Jones was commissioned by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to create A Right to Care, which tackles themes of inequality in health. The show received an Obie, a Helen Hayes Award, two Drama Desk nominations, HBO’s US Comedy Arts Festival’s Best One Person Show Award, and an NYCLU Calloway Award in recognition as the first artist in history to sue the Federal Communications Commission for censorship. She has made numerous TV appearances on HBO, NBC, ABC, CBS, PBS, and CNN as well as in her own special, “The Sarah Jones Show,” on Bravo.

Darshak Sanghavi, M.D., author of A Map of the Child: A Pediatrician's Tour of the Body, is a Pediatric Cardiologist and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at University of Massachusetts Medical School. A frequent contributor to the Boston GlobeNew York Times,, and National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, Sanghavi also serves on the advisory board of ParentsMagazine, was a visiting media fellow of the Kaiser Family Foundation, and has appeared on NBCs Today Show.


Anne Fadiman, is an author, essayist, editor, and teacher. Her first book, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, chronicles the trials of an epileptic Hmong child and her family living in Merced, California. Fadiman’s sensitive, incisive treatment of the unbreachable gulf between the Hmong and American medical systems won her a National Book Critics’ Circle Award.

Teja Arboleda, a television producer, director, writer, actor, and public speaker, is the founder and president of Entertaining Diversity, Inc., and the author of In the Shadow of Race, an account of his personal experiences as a multicultural, multi ethnic and “multiracial” American. Recently he created, produced, directed, wrote and starred in the six part, first through fourth grade educational video series, Diversity Elementary, which aired on PBS in early 2001. He has also completed his first full-length feature film called Got Race: A Pigment of the Imagination, a satirical look at the politics of race and American identity.  Currently, he is working on his second full length feature film, Imperfectly.

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