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Community House Calls Program

Our mission:

To contribute to the health and well-being of refugee and immigrant patients, families and communities through a partnership that promotes culturally competent care.

Community House Calls (CHC) is a program of Harborview Medical Center’s (HMC) Interpreter Services.  Community House Calls serves limited English proficient patients, families and communities who receive health care at HMC.  Bilingual/bicultural caseworker/cultural mediators provide same language services for patients facing complex medical and social circumstances and serve as liaisons to their respective communities.

Community House Calls began in 1994 when doctors Ellie Graham and Carey Jackson were jointly awarded a Robert Wood Johnson grant to help address barriers to health care for refugees and immigrants receiving care at HMC.  The program initially targeted four language groups:  Amharic, Cambodian, Somali and Tigrigna speakers, and caseworker/cultural mediators (CCM) were then hired from each of these groups with hiring advice from community leaders.  An intensive orientation followed hiring. In 1996, CHC became a Harborview program in the Interpreter Services department, and Vietnamese and Spanish speaking CCMs and a nurse supervisor were added to the staff


Services Provided

Services available to patients

  • Interpretation
  • Find resources for social issues that impact the health of patients, such as immigration concerns, job searches and enrolling in English for citizenship classes.
  • Advocacy for patients in healthcare, social service, school and agency settings.
  • Facilitation of Medicaid-eligible patients
  • Coordination of patient care, including arranging transportation
  • Help with forms and applications
  • Health education
  • Home visits

Services available to providers

  • Interpretation
  • Cultural mediation, including facilitating clinical encounters that involve cultural differences
  • Cultural consultation about issues affecting patient care
  • Didactic presentations providing cultural information about a variety of topics, such as health beliefs, traditional health practices, explaining diagnoses to patients, end-of-life issues and parenting practices
  • Educate providers about cultural issues surrounding their clients care

Services available to the community

  • Case workers also respond to requests for education about tuberculosis, cancer, asthma, depression, HIV/AIDS and other topics.



  • Powerpoint presentation about CHC


Publications referencing the Community House Calls Program

  • Immigrant Medicine edited by Patricia Walker, William Stauffer, Elizabeth Barnett, James Jaranson; Pages:  65-66




    Contact Information

    Community House Calls
    Harborview Medical Center
    Box 359977 Seattle, WA 98104

    phone: 206 744-9256
    fax: 206 744-9981

    Contact:  Lea Ann Miyagawa at