Faculty Biographies



Zarita Araújo-Lane, MSW & LICSW

President & founder of Cross Cultural Communication Systems, Inc., is a Primary Instructor for Interpreting in Mental Health Settings and serves as an adjunct instructor in our other classes. She has over 30 years of experience working with cross-cultural populations in medical and mental health organizations. Ms. Araujo-Lane was the director of a mental health cross-cultural team for over ten years at Health and Education Services in the North Shore area. She has published articles on cross-cultural management including chapters written in 1996 and 2005 on “Portuguese Families” for the second and third editions of the book, Ethnicity and Family Therapy by Monica McGoldrick. Ms. Araújo-Lane leads the creative team responsible for the development of The Art of Medical Interpretation® training material series and has authored multiple articles for publications of the American Translators Association and other scholarly journals.

Vera Duarte, MA

Primary Medical Interpretation Instructor at CCCS, Inc., holds both a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in Foreign Language Education from Portugal and in Applied Linguistics from the University ofMassachusetts. Ms. Duarte is certified by the Massachusetts Department of Education to teach ESL to grades 5-12. She currently teaches a course that addresses issues of minority students and academic achievement. She is the Teacher-in-Charge for the Bilingual and English Language Acquisition Department at Cambridge Rindge and Latin. She is a native speaker of Portuguese. She also speaks Spanish and French fluently. For the past three years, Ms. Duarte has been involved in designing, developing and implementing curriculum at CCCS, Inc. Ms. Duarte successfully completed The Art of Medical Interpretation® course at CCCI (54-hour certificate of accomplishment by CCCS, Inc.), joined the CCCS, Inc. team as a Consultant and is currently the Primary Medical Interpretation Instructor and Curriculum Development Specialist. She was the main force behind the manual The Art of Medical Interpretation®, 3rd Edition.

Andrew Jerger, CHI & CMI

Primary Instructor for medical interpretation courses is an experienced interpreter and instructor who has partnered with CCCI to develop curriculum and create online courses. Mr. Jerger spent 11 years in the Dominican Republic, teaching public speaking courses in Spanish, English language classes and Spanish reading and writing classes. Mr. Jerger successfully completed the Art of Medical Interpretation course at CCCI (54-hour certificate of accomplishment by CCCS, Inc.) and went on to become a language coach before joining CCCI faculty in 2009. He has since completed certifications in both CHI & CMI.

Lourdes Alvarez, MS

Primary Instructor for medical interpretation courses in New Hampshire. Ms. Alvarez holds a BA in Education in 1972 from University of Massachusetts Boston and a MS in Communication in 1980 from Boston University. Currently, Ms. Alvarez holds memberships with Mass Foreign Language Association, Mass Teacher’s Association and Association of Teacher’s of Spanish and Portuguese. Ms. Alvarez successfully completed The Art of Medical Interpretation course at CCCI (60-hour certificate of accomplishment by CCCS, Inc.) and is currently a Primary Instructor for medical interpretation courses and Consultant.

Mona Gebrael El Hachem, MS & CHI

Primary Instructor for medical interpretation courses in Massachusetts. Ms. Hachem holds a BS in Education from Holy Spirit University, Lebanon (1999), BA in French from Lebanese University (2008) and as well as a MS in Sciences of Education Coordination from Saint Joseph University, Lebanon (2011) a MS in Sciences of Education in French instruction from Holy Spirit University, Lebanon (2011) and a certificate in Conflict Resolution and Mediation with an Excellence Award (2012) from UMass Boston. Ms. Hachem successfully completed the Art of Medical Interpretation® course at CCCI (60-hour certificate of accomplishment by CCCS, Inc.) and is currently a Primary Instructor for medical interpretation courses and interpreter. She was a language coach (French & Arabic) before joining CCCI faculty. Ms. Hachem has since completed certifications in CHI.

Laura J. Chavez, MA

Primary Instructor for medical interpretation courses in Massachusetts. Ms. Chavez holds a Master of Arts from Harvard University, (2007) and Bachelors in Architecture from Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon (2000). Ms. Chavez worked as a teacher assistant at the Cambridge Montessori School from 2004 to 2007, where she discovered her passion for teaching. Ms. Chavez successfully completed the Art of Medical Interpretation® course at CCCI (60-hour certificate of accomplishment by CCCS, Inc.) and is currently a Primary Instructor for medical interpretation courses and an interpreter.


Dr. Dharma E. Cortés, PhD

Dr. Dharma E. Cortés has partnered with CCCI to develop curriculum and create online courses. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Psychology from the University of Puerto Rico, and a Doctorate in Sociology from Fordham University. She also completed postdoctorate training in Medical Anthropology at Harvard Medical School’s Department of Social Medicine. She is currently an Instructor at Cambridge Health Alliance, Harvard Medical School, Department of Psychiatry and senior research associate at the Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Boston, and a member of the Health Literacy Studies Group at the Harvard School of Public Health. She has been conducting research with Latinos in the United States for more than 20 years. Her work has focused on the study of culture, mental and physical health, health literacy and health and mental health service utiliza-tion research. Dr. Cortés has extensive experience implementing qualitative research methods such as focus groups, open-ended interviews and cognitive interviews for the purpose of developing survey instruments, theory verification and theory generation. Her past and current research combines qualitative and quantitative research methods.

Dr. Cortés is currently the principal investigator for a study funded by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services to evaluate the effectiveness of a low-literacy educational diabetes intervention among Spanish-speaking Latinos. She is also the principal investigator for one study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Salud America! program to examine how a low-literacy consumer activation nutrition educational paradigm could be used to increase food literacy and change consumer behavior toward healthy eating among Spanish-speaking Latinos.

Cynthia E. Roat, MPH

Cynthia E. Roat is an international consultant on language access in healthcare. A native of upstate New York, she spent a decade working in rural areas of Latin America before moving to Seattle to earn her Masters degree in International Public Health from the University of Washington. Ms. Roat entered the interpreting world in 1992 and quickly became certified by Washington State as a medical and social-service Spanish-English interpreter. Her interest in systems change, however, led her into teaching interpreters, trainers and medical providers the basics of interpreting practice and consulting with healthcare administrators around the country on how to improve their language access programs. Most recently, Ms. Roat spent three years at Seattle Children’s Hospital, managing their unique Bilingual Patient Navigator program, before returning to her national consulting work.

Over the past two decades, Ms. Roat has made significant contributions, both in the U.S. and abroad, in many areas of language access. She is the author of a wide array of key resources in the field and the primary developer of the original version of Bridging the Gap, for many years the country’s most widely-offered training for healthcare interpreters. Her most recent book, Healthcare Interpreting in Small Bites, is being adopted as an ancillary text in many interpreter training programs. Ms. Roat has consulted for a variety of large medical centers and healthcare systems. Always concerned about building grassroots capacity, Ms. Roat has been a mentor to interpreters, trainers and Language Access Coordinators around the U.S. She is a founding member of the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care (NCIHC), where she was a long-time Board member and Chair of various committees, a founding member of the Washington State Coalition on Language Access (WASCLA), and a former board member of the Northwest Translators and Interpreters Society (NOTIS) where she currently organizes regular interpreter training workshops through the Medical Special Interest Group. She is known nationally as an engaging speaker, a knowledgeable resource, and an energetic advocate for language access in general.

Amy Wilson-Stronks, MPP, CPHQ

Amy Wilson-Stronks has partnered with CCCI to develop curriculum and create online courses. Amy earned a Master of Public Policy Degree and a Certificate in Health Administration and Policy from the University of Chicago. She is a Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality (CPHQ). She is the Principal and Founde of Wilson-Stronks, LLC and, has more than twenty years’ experience working in healthcare as a quality improvement professional, researcher, and policy analyst advocating for improvements in patient safety and advances in equitable care for vulnerable populations. Amy is an experienced researcher, consultant, strategist, and trainer. She has a national reputation as a skilled and passionate expert dedicated to improving the delivery of healthcare.

Amy has developed training programs on cultural competence, patient-provider communication, and language access including a video produced in collaboration with the Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She currently is leading the development of the GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality Quality Healthcare for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People, Webinar Series. Her publications include: Advancing Effective Communication, Cultural Competence, and Patient-and Family-centered Care: A Roadmap for Hospitals, published in 2010; One Size Does Not Fit All: Meeting the Health Care Needs of Diverse Populations, published in the spring of 2008; Exploring Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in the Nation’s Hospitals: A Report of Findings, spring 2007; and several journal articles.

While at The Joint Commission, she researched, developed, tested, and implemented healthcare accreditation standards for hospitals, behavioral healthcare, long-term care, and ambulatory care programs. Her research and development work includes infection control, restraint and seclusion, patient and family rights and responsibilities, patient-provider communication, cultural competence and diversity, language access, and patient-and-family-centered care. Securing more than one million dollars in grants, she served as the principal investigator of several pivotal studies including The Hospitals, Language, and Culture: A Snapshot of the Nation (HLC) study. This was the first large-scale qualitative study to investigate how hospitals address the cultural and linguistic needs of diverse patient populations. Amy’s leadership resulted in the adoption of the 2011 Joint Commission patient-centered communication accreditation standards for hospitals including standards specifically those related to language access, 24-hour support access, and non-discrimination. Prior to leaving the Joint Commission, she secured a grant to engage experts on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender health and healthcare, Advancing Effective Communication, Cultural Competence, and Patient- and Family-Centered Care for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Community: A Field Guide. She served as the Principal Investigator prior to leaving The Joint Commission, continuing as Project Advisor for the duration of the project.

Natalie Ormonde Serra, MA

Natalie Ormonde Serra is a Consultant to CCCS, Inc. and has partnered with CCCI to develop curriculum and create online courses. Ms. Ormonde Serra, M.A., holds Bachelor’s degrees from Regis College (Weston, MA) in both Communications and Secondary Education, a Master’s degree in Intercultural Relations from Lesley University (Cambridge, MA), as well as, graduate studies in Portuguese Language and Culture from the University of Lisbon (Faculdade de Letras) in Lisbon, Portugal. Contributing to her experiences was the work she did for the Portuguese-speaking communities and students, as well as with the Portuguese Foreign Mission, Consulate-General of Portugal, in Boston, Massachusetts, Lesley University (Cambridge, MA), and both the Department of Education and Middlesex Community College of Lowell, MA. Ms. Ormonde Serra completed a qualitative study designed to explore the socio-cultural needs of culturally diverse Portuguese immigrant elderly women living in Lowell, Massachusetts and how they were being addressed; via a study titled “Portuguese Immigrant Elderly Women in Massachusetts: A Focus on their Socio-cultural Needs.” Ms. Ormonde Serra, has over a decade of experience working with a socio-cultural and linguistically diverse population. She is a native speaker of Portuguese with knowledge of both Spanish and French. In addition, Ms. Ormonde Serra successfully completed the Art of Medical Interpretation® course at CCCI (60-hour Certificate of Accomplishment by CCCS, Inc.).

Dr. Alessandro Baldan, PhD

Dr. Alessandro Baldan has partnered with CCCI to develop curriculum and create online courses. He is presently a Post Doc Associate at Baylor College of Medicine and completed a Doctorate Degree in Translational Biomedicine at University of Verona. Mr. Baldan graduated with a combined BSc-MSc in Molecular Biology at the University of Padova, Italy. Winner of the Erasum-Socrates Scholarship, he studied at the Paris XI University, France. Willing to improve his skills, Alessandro worked at the University College of London, tIK, on neuronal cells. In Italy, he worked in pre-natal diagnosis gathering more experience in genetics and chromosome diseases. He obtained another MSc in Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology. Alessandro also worked at Rutgeis, The University of New Jersey.

His research projects focus on the genetics of complex diseases like ASD and respiratory diseases. In particular, how the environment can interact with genes in the susceptibility to develop diseases. Furthermore, he works at the section of pediatrics at University-Hospital S.Arrna in Ferrara, Italy, on osteoporosis and aging. His research is funded by the European project Trans2Care aimed to improve healthcare.

Carina Araújo-Lane, BS

Carina Araújo-Lane currently works at Cross Cultural Communications Systems Institute (CCCI) as a program coordinator assistant and developer of a mental health online course for interpreters. She is also a research assistant at Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute, where she helps conduct qualitative research on mental illness and health insurance.

In 2015, Ms. Araujo-Lane completed the Public Health Associate Program (PHAP), a two-year fellowship with Center for Disease Control. Ms. Araujo-Lane was placed in Kern County Public Health Services Department in California. In her first year Ms. Araujo-Lane worked in a STD prevention, education and surveillance. In her second year, Ms. Araujo-Lane was an assistant to Call to Action, a countywide coali-tion focused on preventing obesity through policy, systems and environmental change.

Ms. Araujo-Lane graduated from Sarah Lawrence College with Bacherlor or Arts in 2013. She concen-trated in Psychology, Anthropology and Public Health. She has continued interest in women’s health, community outreach, mental health and health policy.


Dr. Richard S. Lane, MD, Medical Advisor and Adjunct Instructor

Primary Medical Interpretation Instructor for the development of the medical component for both Getting Ready for Your Written and Oral Healthcare Interpreter Certification Exam courses. Bilingual guest instructor in the medical interpretation courses and is a retired Internist in the Extended Care Facility Program at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates of Boston, MA. His interests in the healthcare field have included: the doctor/patient relationship, teaching interview skills to medical students and residents, cross cultural communication in medicine, care of elderly patients in rehabilitation and sub-acute units, as well as, palliative medicine and hospice care at end of life. He became board certified in Palliative Care and Hospice Medicine in 2005.

Daniel McLean, Guest Presenter

CCCS, Inc. Director of Interpreter Resource and Quality Assurance, is responsible for maintaining the high standards of quality interpretation for which CCCS, Inc. has become renowned. He chairs the Critical Incident Team and conducts the follow-up with interpreters and customers for all reported incidents. Mr. McLean recruits trained and qualified interpreters for CCCS, Inc. freelance interpreting assignments. He is a trained medical interpreter, is fluent in Spanish. Mr. McLean successfully completed the Intensive Art of Medical Interpretation course at CCCI (60-hour certificate of accomplishment by CCCS, Inc.), before joining CCCS, Inc. in 2014.

Raisa Abdeen, AAHS, Guest Presenter

Raisa Abdeen holds an Associate of Science in Human Services (AAHS) from Bunker Hill Community College (2015). Ms. Abdeen has vast experience working with diverse populations at many levels, including children and adults alike. Ms. Abdeen is an Interpreter Resource Administrative Coordinator who collaborates with a team that ensures the high quality of interpreters at CCCS, Inc. Ms. Abdeen performs language assessments and assists in the recruitment of qualified interpreters. She is a trained medical and community interpreter. She is fluent in both Arabic and Portuguese. Ms. Abdeen successfully completed the Community/Public Service Interpreting Certificate program at Boston University as well as the Intensive Art of Medical Interpretation® course at CCCI (60-hour certificate of accomplishment by CCCS, Inc.), before joining CCCS, Inc. in 2014.


Language Coaching is provided by active, qualified interpreters who have significant experience working in the interpreting field along with superior proficiency and fluency in both English and their target language(s). Language Coaches assist students with practicing the different interpreting modes/tools (such as CIFE and Memory Aids) via role-play exercises. Evaluation tools are used and submitted to faculty; however, students are provided verbal feedback on a case-by-case basis.