Cynthia E. Roat, MPH
Cynthia E. Roat is an international consultant on language access in health care. 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 health care 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.