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:


Enrica J. Ardemagni holds a Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin with a focus on Medieval Literature and Historical Linguistics. Currently she is Professor Emerita at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) where she taught all levels of language and literature as well as Spanish for the Professions and Specific Purposes (SPSP-business, legal, medical). She was also an Adjunct Professor in the Indiana University School of Medicine, Department of Family Medicine. She developed over fifteen courses in translation, translation studies and interpreting and served as Director of the Undergraduate and Graduate Certificates in Translation Studies. She has published and presented over sixty scholarly articles and presentations and she is a published literary translator. She has presented her scholarly work, taught, and/or interpreted in the United States, Venezuela, Spain, Mexico, Honduras and Bolivia. During her tenure at IUPUI she received sixteen teaching awards as well as a Congressional Recognition for her work in co-creating a navigational program for Latino students to transition from high school to higher education.

Professor Ardemagni is one of the founding members and served three terms as President of the Midwest Association of Translators and Interpreters (MATI), a Chapter of the American Translators Association (ATA). She served two terms as the Administrator of the ATA Literary Division and she is serving her second term as Administrator of the ATA Educators Division. She was appointed by the State Department of Health as Chair of the Indiana Commission on Certification of Medical Interpreters and by the Indiana Court Administration to the Indiana Language Access Task Force. Professor Ardemagni is currently President of the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (NCIHC).  She holds a Certificate in Online Teaching, she is an Indiana Supreme Court Certified Interpreter, and a Certified Healthcare InterpreterTM.  Including her extensive engagement in community work, Professor Ardemagni continues to work on curriculum development in translation studies, interpreting, and Languages for the Professions and Specific Purposes


Abigail R. Averbach, MSc, was appointed Assistant Commissioner and Director of the Office of Population Health for the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) in October 2017. The newly established Office of Population Health was envisioned by MDPH Commissioner Monica Bharel to align MDPH efforts to achieve evidence-based, outcomes-driven improvements in health and health equity for communities and populations in Massachusetts. In this role, Ms. Averbach oversees the Office of Data Management and Outcomes Assessment, Office of Special Analytics Projects, Office of Health Equity, and the Registry of Vital Records and Statistics.

Ms. Averbach is a proven leader in the public health arena. Prior to joining MDPH, she served as the Director of the Office of Data Analytics at UMass Medical School, Commonwealth Medicine Division. She had several leadership roles over a 13-year career at Commonwealth Medicine including serving as Assistant Vice Chancellor and Chief of Staff and Director of the Office of Massachusetts Client Relations. She is also an Instructor in the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at UMass Medical School. Prior to Commonwealth Medicine, Abbie worked at MDPH from 1995-2004 including serving as the Director of Research and Evaluation for HIV/AIDS. She began her public health career as an Epidemiologist at MDPH. Abbie lives in Worcester and is involved in a variety of community activities. She is a member of the Worcester Board of Health, serves on the Community Outreach Committee of the Health Foundation of Central Massachusetts, and is President of the Jewish Federation of Central Massachusetts.


Mara Youdelman, is the managing attorney in NHeLP’s Washington DC office. She has worked at NHeLP for more than a decade on issues that include Medicaid, health reform, language access, racial and ethnic disparities, and data collection.  Recognized as a national expert on language access in health care settings, Mara has written a number of reports and participated on expert advisory panels on the subject. She is co-author of Ensuring Linguistic Access in Health Care Settings: Legal Rights and Responsibilities and Language Services Resource Guide for Pharmacists. Mara also directed the National Language Access Advocacy Project, funded by the California Endowment to increase awareness of language access issues at the federal level, and served as a Founding Commissioner on the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (  She was named a 2011 Language Access Champion by the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (NCIHC) and a 2010 Health Reform Champion by SHIRE (the Summit Health Institute for Research and Education).

Mara served as editor and co-author of NHeLP’s 130+ page analysis of the Affordable Care Act. Mara leads NHeLP’s work on eligibility and enrollment issues as well as language access and health disparities. She also helps coordinate NHeLP’s regulatory and administrative work, including authoring and/or editing many of NHeLP’s comments on proposed regulations.

Prior to joining NHeLP, Mara completed a teaching fellowship at Georgetown University Law Center's Federal Legislation Clinic and spent two years litigating for the Administration for Children's Services in New York City. Mara earned her LL.M. in Advocacy from Georgetown University Law Center in 2000, her J.D. from Boston University School of Law in 1996, and her B.A. from Tufts University in 1991.

She also founded AWARE: Actively Working for Acquaintance Rape Education, an interactive educational program on acquaintance rape.


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.

Quotes from 2019 Participants

"Paving the Way is the best conference in our field."

"It improved my profession."

"Positive and mind opening day!"

"Very knowledgeable speakers who care about getting the information across."

"Awesome and very insightful!"

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