Kelly Liu - Chair
Originally from California, Kelly has dedicated her life to civil society for more than ten years sitting on boards, volunteering and interning for organizations such as the Berkeley Food and Housing Project, California Public Interest Research Group, and National Association of Community Health Centers.
With a B.S. in Business Administration focused on non-profit management and marketing, Kelly spent two years in the advertising industry in Los Angeles and three years in the international development industry, managing NGO capacity building projects in Botswana’s public health sector and a women’s economic empowerment project while at Oxfam in Cambodia.
Kelly has recently completed her Master's degree in International Business at The Fletcher School at Tufts University and currently works as a program manager to ensure social and environmental responsibility in the global supply chain of a large technology company.
Dr. Rawan AlHeresh
Dr. AlHeresh is an occupational therapy scientist with expertise in cross-cultural adaptation and access to rehabilitation measures and interventions to underserved communities like refugees, asylum seekers, and non-English speakers. Dr. AlHeresh is an Associate Professor of occupational therapy at the MGH Institute of Health Professions. She is the founder and Director of the "Toward an All-Inclusive Jordan" Initiative, an academic-community partnership program serving as a platform for education, clinical training, and advocacy for the rights of people with disabilities using Community-Based Rehabilitation (CBR) in the Middle East. In addition, Dr. AlHeresh is a strong advocate for refugees and asylum seekers in the US and globally, especially those with disabilities and non-English speakers.
Renee Cammarata Hamilton
Renee Cammarata Hamilton is a seasoned population and community health professional, with experience both stateside and abroad. She has extensive experience in population and community health improvement and directs the Cambridge Health Alliance’s Community Health Improvement Team. She leads this team of community health professionals who facilitate multi sectoral coalitions that convene, assess, plan and act to improve community and public health.
Renee’s work has focused on addressing health inequities caused by systemic racism that exists in all community bureaucracies. She has consistently worked to elevate the voices of historically disenfranchised communities and stood alongside these populations to demand action and correct the inequities that prevent them from achieving full health and wellbeing.
She received her BA from Clark University in Psychology, her MSW in Social, Economic, and Health Development at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and her MPA from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University in Social and Economic Development.
Gaye was born in New York but grew up in Guadalajara, Mexico, where her family moved permanently when she was eleven. After earning a B.A. in English from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, she moved about the country, living in Florida, New Orleans, and Chicago, before settling in the Boston area. From jobs in bilingual education and marketing she stumbled into the interpreting profession.
She had been working as a legal and medical interpreter, at first freelance and then full-time, when she was appointed the Director of Interpreter Services for Tufts New England Medical Center. In her five years there, she oversaw an increase in staff interpreter positions and the standardization of services. In 1998 she received the Lifespan Cultural Diversity Award for her effort in cultural awareness training. In 2001, she became the Manager of the Office of Court Interpreters at the Trial Court of Massachusetts, where she supervised the statewide program for the provision of interpreters. Her department was honored by the National Center for State Courts as a National Model of Effective Management. In her thirteen-year tenure, she oversaw great progress in both broadening and systematizing linguistic access to previously under-served linguistic minorities.
Gaye served on staff at Found in Translation as our Program Director for five years, overseeing our Medical Interpreter Certificate Training program. Her current position is Interpreter Resource and QA Director at CCCS/Embracing Culture. She has served as a Board Member and as the Treasurer of the NCIHC.
Dr. Eric Hardt
Dr. Eric Hardt is a former Associate Professor of Medicine at BUSM. His training included B.A. in psych from Yale 1970, M.D. from Tufts Med 1974. After 10 years at Harlem Hospital and Jacobi Hospital in the Bronx, he came to Boston City Hospital/BMC, where he worked for 34 years until retirement.
He is board certified in Internal Medicine, Medical Oncology, Geriatrics, and Palliative Care Medicine. Dr. Hardt’s activities in the area of non-English-speaking patients and medical interpretation are well known around the country.
He has produced educational materials for medical interpreters and for health care workers working across language differences. He has authored and co-authored book chapters and articles on medical interpretation and related areas. Dr. Hardt was a founding member of the International Medical Interpreters Association and served on the Advisory Board.
In 2011 he received the IMIA’s inaugural “Provider of the Year Award.” He was a founding member of the National Council on Interpretation in Health Care, served on its Executive Board, and co-chaired its Policy and Research Committee. He worked with the Massachusetts Office for Refugees and Immigrants and with the ABA’s Health Law Section about related legal issues.
Most recently, he served as a Board Director for the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters, which began national certification in 2010. For 34 years he served as Medical Consultant to Interpreter Services at BCH/BMC.
Sarah E. Lukas
Sarah is a retired partner of Edelstein & Co., LLP, a regional public accounting firm based in Boston, Massachusetts. Sarah specialized for over 30 years in providing tax, consulting and practice management services to health care clients. Her clients included a wide range of physician groups of various specialties and sizes. She also provided consulting services to hospitals and contributed to numerous new physician start-up practices. In retirement, Sarah continues to use her accounting skills to provide guidance and oversight to nonprofit organizations. Sarah obtained her MS in Taxation from Bentley University and her BA in Accounting from SUNY Binghamton.
Lisa K. Walker
Lisa is a physician assistant (PA) and the founding Program Director of the Physician Assistant program at MGH Institute of Health Professions.
Before entering the PA profession in 1994, Lisa worked as an American Sign Language interpreter in medical settings. She teaches and consults extensively on the topics of cultural competency, patients with disabilities, medical interpreting, and communication access.
She is the co-author of a chapter on patients with disabilities in the widely used text Physician Assistant: A Guide to Clinical Practice.
Leah Witkin is a second generation Asian American who witnessed healthcare disparities and challenges of language accessibility from an early age. Her experiences developed into a passion for empowering minority women and equitable healthcare while working as a clinic and outreach volunteer with Planned Parenthood. While earning her fine arts degree, her desire to help people led to the study of art criticism and curatorial practice, and thesis work on the practice of service-based art. Later she studied mind-body wellness, worked as a registered yoga teacher, and became a Level II Reiki Practitioner. She wove these skills into her work as a registered nurse, and volunteer educator at the Nashua Street Jail. While earning her Master of Physician Assistant Studies from the MGH Institute of Health Professions, she was a Compassion Scholar with the Schwartz Center for Compassion in Healthcare. She practices health equity through her current work as a Physician Assistant in the Orthopedic Spine Center at Massachusetts General Hospital, where she sees new patients, guides patients throughout their surgical treatment, and first assists in surgeries.
Meck Xayavongsa has a public health background and has worked with the Georgia State University's Prevention Research Center-- a 5-year grant administered by the CDC-- to focus on preventive health for specific groups. She conducted applied research projects to understand the low utilization of healthcare services of those in Clarkston, GA - a refugee resettlement community outside of Atlanta, GA. Prior to that, Meck worked for 2 years at a refugee resettlement agency, Inspiritus, specifically in job placement and workforce development with newly arrived refugees. The culmination of both experiences have informed her interest to improve population health and highlights how language access permeates every facet of building a life here in America. Meck's experience has cultivated her skills in community outreach, partner development, and research and data analysis techniques to evaluate programs and interventions. Meck is also a daughter of refugees who are from Laos, and her interest in advancing language access is attributed to witnessing her parents' experience in navigating systems that were not designed for them to succeed and to integrate seamlessly.
Meck received her MSc in Public Health from London Metropolitan University and a BSc in Sociology from University of West Georgia.