Board of Directors          


The work of the Council is overseen by a 14-member board. The following are members of the board of directors for 2008-2009:


Niels Agger-Gupta

Wilma Alvarado-Little

Enrica Ardemagni

Shiva Bidar-Sielaff

Joy Connell

Rashelle LeCaptain

Maria Michalczyk

Lisa Morris

Barbara Rayes

Jason Roberson

Karin Ruschke

Paz Anglica Snyder

Jorge Ungo

Doreena Wong


Click on an individual board member's name above or scroll down to read more about each member of the board.



Co-chairs of the Board


Wilma Alvarado-Little, MA
Program Manager
Center for the Elimination of Minority Health Disparities
University at Albany, SUNY
AS 236
1400 Washington Avenue
Albany, NY 12222
Tel: 518-442-5976

[email protected]


Wilma Alvarado-Little is a medical interpreter and trainer with over 20 years of experience in the health care field. She is a member of the Board of the Chicago Area Interpreter Referral Services which provides interpreters to the deaf and hard of hearing populations, a founding member of the Association of Medical Interpreters of New York (AMINY), and also serves on the Multicultural Advisory Board for the State of New York Office of Mental Health.

Former manager of interpreter services at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, a program she established, Ms. Alvarado-Little provides education to health care institutions on the implementation of hospital and community-based interpreter programs and the role of the medical interpreter. Along with having extensive presentation experience on these issues and related topics, she has also been involved with the media in presenting to the public information on the importance of the role and participation of the medical interpreter for the provision of quality health care services.

She has a Master of Arts degree in Spanish Literature and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish and Psychology. Currently residing in New York, Wilma dedicates her time to the issues of language access for the limited English speaking population nationwide.

Joy Connell
Senior Associate for Cross Cultural Consultation and Training
Massachusetts State Department of Mental Health
Office of Multicultural Affairs
25 Staniford Street
Boston, MA 02114
Tel: (617) 626-8133
[email protected]


Joy Connell has 20 years of public sector experience working with multicultural populations and mental health care access issues. Her extensive work with community-based organizations has focused on refugees and immigrants, while her training activities have encompassed issues of traditional minority groups as well as those of newcomers. She has consulted and/or presented to a wide array of human service providers in federal, state and private systems on topics including ethnic-specific mental health needs, language access issues, and workplace diversity concerns. She was selected to be a trainer for the Multicultural Issues, Diversity Studies and Training (MIDST) program of the Boston University School of Social Work, and is certified as a Senior Trainer of the Center for Youth and Communities, Heller School, Brandeis University's Diversity Curriculum Training produced by the Massachusetts Office of Work/Life Diversity.

Ms. Connell has been involved with the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health's (DMH) Interpreter Services program since its inception in 1988. The DMH Interpreter Services program is the longest-running and most active program among all state agencies in the Commonwealth. In addition to program coordination, she has developed and presented numerous trainings to both interpreters and providers working with interpreters.


She is former president of the Massachusetts Medical Interpreters Association, former Board Member of the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy (MIRA) Coalition, and has served on the Board of NCIHC since 2001 as Co-Chair of the Organizational Development Committee.





Barbara Rayes

Coordinator, Translation Services & Language Education

Master Trainer, Medical Interpreter Project

Phoenix Children's Hospital

1919 E. Thomas Road

Phoenix AZ 85016

Tel:  602-546-3348 

[email protected]

At Phoenix Children's Hospital, Barbara Rayes is Coordinator for Translation Services and Language Education and also serves as Master Trainer for the national Medical Interpreter Project. Her priorities as a teacher are to be clear, kind, and above all, to give her students something worthwhile! She has taught hundreds of adult learners in topics related to language, health care, and teaching, and has won Best Practice recognition from University of Arizona College of Medicine Bright Idea Network and the national Epilepsy Foundation. Barbara is principal author of Spanish Bilingual Assistant, a sixty-hour introduction to medical interpreting, and No-Stress Spanish, a two-day cultural competency seminar. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Spanish. Barbara is the founding president of Arizona Translators and Interpreters, Inc., a non-profit membership organization dedicated to teaching people about translation and interpreting.





Maria Michalczyk, RN, MA
Education Coordinator, Director of Healthcare Interpreting Program
Portland Community College
Institute for Health Professionals
1626 SE Water Avenue 0000114
Portland, OR 97280
Tel: 503-731-6627
[email protected]


Maria Michalczyk is the founder, director and instructor of the Healthcare Interpreter Training program at Portland Community College in Portland, Oregon which was created in 1998. Her educational repertoire includes a B.S. in General Science, an M.A. in Anthropology from Portland State University and a degree in Nursing from the University of Guam.

Maria has worked as a healthcare professional for well over 30 years including critical care, utilization review services and general nursing duties. For a decade, Ms. Michalczyk worked for the Oregon Health Sciences University as a Medical Interpreter Manager and Diversity Training Instructor. Before taking this position she worked as an RN in a variety of clinical settings including working in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

During the mid 1990’s she was involved in the ASTM National Workgroup on setting national guidelines on medical interpretation. During 2000 she was the contributor to the Oregon Governor’s Racial and Ethnic Health Task Force Report where she recommended the entire language found in the state wide report for medical interpreter services. Ms. Michalczyk was the major contributor and energy behind SB 790 to certify healthcare interpreters in Oregon. She testified for the bill and presented a speech to Governor Kitzhaber for the celebration of the bill becoming law in August 2001.

Ms. Michalczyk has served on the Board of Directors of the National Council on Interpretation in Health Care since 2001, serving as Co-Chair of the Organizational Development Committee and Co-chair of the Board and is presently Co-Chair for the Outreach Committee. Ms. Michalczyk has just completed a four year term as being the chair for the Governor’s Council on Healthcare Interpreting in Oregon. Since February 2006 Ms. Michalczyk has been serving as the honorary Chair for the Japanese Association for Healthcare Interpreting. In April of 2006 Maria was awarded the “Governor John Kitzhaber Public Health Leadership Award” granted by Multnomah County Health Department in Oregon.



Co-chairs of the Membership Committee

Jorge U. Ungo
Southwest Region Manager

Pacific Interpreters

707 SW Washington, Suite 200

Portland, OR 97205

Tel: 713-725-6621

[email protected]


Jorge Ungo has dedicated his career to providing high quality interpreting services. As the director of an international interpreting program, Jorge was responsible for all business operations including the development of specialized training programs and interpreter evaluation tools. Today, Jorge is the Southwest Region Manager for Pacific Interpreters – a nationwide leader in healthcare interpreting. In addition to his work with the National Council on Interpreting in Healthcare (NCIHC), Jorge is the Director of Professional Development for the Houston Interpreters and Translators Association (HITA) and the Event Coordinator for the Texas Association of Healthcare Interpreters and Translators (TAHIT). Jorge was also the founding acting administrator of the American Translators Association Medical Division (ATA-MD).


Jason Roberson
Southeast Region Manager

Pacific Interpreters

707 SW Washington, Suite 200

Portland, OR 97205

Tel: 843-637-0636

[email protected]


Jason Roberson holds an MA in Spanish Linguistics from Penn State University and an MA in Hispanic Civilization from New York University. Jason lives in Charleston, SC where he works for Pacific Interpreters as their Southeast Region Manager. Formerly he worked as the Interpreter Services Coordinator for the Medical University of South Carolina, and he has over 12 years of experience teaching college-level Spanish, linguistics, and medical interpreting courses.

Before becoming Interim co-chair of the NCIHC Membership Committee in July of 2008, Jason served as a committee member and the editor of the NCIHC newsletter. Jason also teaches the Fundamentals of Medical Interpreting course for Lowcountry AHEC in South Carolina, and he holds a research instructor position with the Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing.  


Co-chairs of the Organizational Development Committee

Enrica J. Ardemagni, PhD
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis
Department of World Languages & Cultures
425 University Blvd.
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Tel: 317.274.8957
[email protected]

Enrica J. Ardemagni holds a Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Certificates in Cultural Competency, Medical Interpreting and Legal Interpreting. She is currently Associate Professor of Spanish and Director of the Certificate in Translation Studies at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. Professor Ardemagni has published articles in national and international journals, book chapters on translation in medieval Spanish and Catalan literary texts, and edited eight medieval medical manuscripts. She teaches Translation Studies, Business, Medical and Spanish for Law Enforcement, and Medical Interpreting. She co-writes curriculum and teaches Spanish in the IU School of Medicine bilingual medical program. Professor Ardemagni is frequently invited to give workshops and presentations on cultural competency, translation and interpreting. She was one of the founding members of the Midwest Association of Translators and Interpreters (MATI), an Affiliate Chapter of the American Translators Association (ATA) and is the President of the MATI board. Professor Ardemagni also serves as the Administrative Chair of the ATA Literary Division, she is the Interim Co-Chair of the Organizational Development Committee of NCIHC, and the Chair of the Indiana Commission of Health Care Interpreters and Translators.


Lisa Morris

[email protected]


Co-chairs of the Outreach Committee


Rashelle LeCaptain


Connecting Cultures, Inc.

PO Box 262

Little Chute, WI  54140
Tel: 920-202-0684
Fax: 920-687-0371

[email protected]

Rashelle LeCaptain has dedicated her career to furthering the profession of health care interpreting.  In 2000 she started Connecting Cultures, Inc. to provide sustainable employment opportunities to bilingual individuals wanting to work as interpreters.  Rashelle has also made it a point to educate the consumers of language services on what they should expect from professional interpreters, creating an environment of quality control through education.  Since its inception Connecting Cultures, Inc. has become a leader in interpreter management and training. 

Rashelle became fluent in Spanish after spending a year in Mendoza, Argentina as an exchange student.  After returning from her year abroad she studied at Lawrence University in Appleton, WI where she completed another study abroad, this time in Cuzco, Peru.  Rashelle started interpreting in 1998 and since then has continued to offer new opportunities for others like herself looking to connect the various cultures in their communities through language access services.

Rashelle currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Better Business Bureau of Wisconsin.  Connecting Cultures has been a member of the NCIHC since 2004.



Paz Anglica Snyder
University of Michigan Health System
Ann Arbor, MI

[email protected]

Tel: 734-544-3250


Co-chairs of the Policy and Research Committee


Doreena Wong, J.D.
Staff Attorney
National Health Law Program
2639 S. La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034
Tel: 310-204-6010, Ext. 107
Fax: 310-204-0891
[email protected]

Doreena Wong is a staff attorney at the National Health Law Program ("NHeLP"), which is a national public interest law firm working to increase and improve access to quality health care on behalf of limited income people by providing legal analysis and representation, information, education, and policy advocacy. She provides support to the Health Consumer Alliance, a partnership of consumer assistance programs operated by community-based legal services organizations whose purpose is to help low-income people obtain essential health care. She places a special focus on increasing the provision of culturally and linguistically appropriate health care services for immigrants and limited-English proficient populations. She has participated on the Office of Minority Health’s National Advisory Committee for the Development of Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health Care, California’s Task Force on Culturally and Linguistically Competent Physicians and Dentists, and the Advisory Committee of the California Health Care/Safety Net Institute’s Model Language Access Policies and Procedures Project. She is currently a member of the Advisory Group of the National Conference on Quality Health Care for Culturally Diverse Populations and a member of the Advisory Committee of the California Health Care/Safety Net Institute’s Model Language Access Policies and Procedures Project.

Before coming to NHeLP, she worked in the area of civil rights for a number of public interest organizations including the Asian Law Caucus in San Francisco, CA, the ACLU of Philadelphia and Pennsylvania, the National Women's Law Center in Washington, D.C., and a Los Angeles civil rights firm specializing in enforcement of consent decrees in race discrimination cases. She graduated from New York University School of Law in 1987 as a second career after having worked as a health care professional for nine years.


Niels Agger-Gupta, PhD


[email protected]

Niels is a consultant and researcher specializing in program evaluation, organizational change, and cultural & linguistic competency in health care.  The Principal Editor of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Cultural and Linguistic Competency Standards (2004), Niels has continued to work with the DHS Director of Office of Diversity Programs, Miya Iwataki, on how the DHS Standards could be implemented. The California Endowment has currently approval of a one year pilot training initiative, for which Niels is the evaluator. Niels is interested in evaluating cultural competency training to assess its utility for long-term change. Dr. Agger-Gupta has also co-authored Language Barriers in Healthcare Settings: an Annotated Bibliography of the Research Literature, and The California Standards for Healthcare Interpreters, both published by The California Endowment (TCE).   


Co-chairs of the Standards, Training and Certification Committee


Shiva Bidar-Sielaff
UW Health-Manager of Cross Cultural Care and Interpreter Services
UW Hospital & Clinics
600 Highland Ave Room G7/210
Mail Drop 2460
Madison, WI 53792
Tel: (608) 265-7424
Fax: (608) 265-1704
[email protected]


Shiva Bidar-Sielaff joined University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics in 1997. She is the Manager of Cross-Cultural Care and Interpreter Services. She speaks four languages: English, Spanish, French and Farsi.

Ms. Bidar-Sielaff obtained her B.A. from the School of Interpreters, University of Hainaut, in Mons, Belgium, and her M.A. from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California.

On a national level, she has worked extensively on issues of equal access to health care for limited English proficient (LEP) individuals. She is the Co-chair of the Standards, Training and Certification Committee of the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care.

Ms. Bidar-Sielaff is involved in promoting equal access to health care for LEP population in Dane County, Wisconsin. She is the Vice-Chair of the Dane County Latino Health Council and an active member of the Latino Support Network. In April 2000, Ms. Bidar-Sielaff was awarded the Dane County Public Health Leadership Award for Multicultural Health Care. She is the 2005 recipient of the Madison YWCA Woman of Distinction Award for her work in fighting inequality and eliminating racism.


Karin Ruschke
International Language Services

2707 N. Halsted Street

Chicago, IL 60614
Tel: 773-525-8590
Fax: 773-525-8591
[email protected]


Karin Ruschke is founder and president of International Language Services, a full-service agency providing on-site and telephone interpretation, written translation services, and training to clients nationwide. Ms. Ruschke received her M.A. from the School of Translation at the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California. Karin Ruschke has dedicated her career to bridging language and cultural differences in the health care setting.


In addition to running a community-based interpreting agency in Chicago, Ms. Ruschke provides consultation on effective set-up and implementation of language interpreting services to a variety of clients such as health care facilities, government agencies and community organizations. She has developed a comprehensive training program for interpreters in health care which addresses the rigorous standards of accuracy, confidentiality, role and cultural-sensitivity, improving the effectiveness and professionalism of interpreting. She also trains providers in how to work effectively with interpreters.


Ms. Ruschke is actively involved in all aspects of developing the medical interpreting industry and played an integral role in raising the awareness of standards for medical interpreters. Karin was a technical advisor and lead researcher for the research project Hospitals, Language and Culture: A Snapshot of the Nation, sponsored by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations in 2005. In addition, Ms. Ruschke was a member of the expert advisory panel of the American Medical Association on a project to assess ways in which physicians can overcome barriers to language access of their limited English speaking patients.