CPEHN’s A Right To Heal: Mental Health in Diverse Communities

A Success Story in Event Interpreting and Community Listening
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CPEHN – Who They Are and What They Do for Diverse Communities

The California Pan-Ethnic Health Network (CPEHN), founded in 1992, is an advocacy group that brings together communities of color to promote health equity through public policy, networking, policy research, and storytelling. Through their vast network of partners, they are active at the state policy level, with projects that include the American Rescue Plan Scorecards for California Counties, the California Reducing Disparities Project, and Building Towards Anti-Racist Governments. They host many events throughout the year, several of which Avantpage has attended due to a shared commitment to their mission. Like them, we believe that all Californians have an equal right to quality health care, regardless of race, immigration status, or language preference. CPEHN’s website makes available numerous publications, from bite-sized one-pagers to extensive reports. They also provide links to get health coverage, register to vote, and sign up for their new Right to Heal podcast, covering topics related to minorities and mental health.  

A Right To HealA Project to Listen to Diverse Communities about Mental Health

In 2020, CPEHN was contracted by the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC) “to engage and uplift diverse voices to influence what local programs and services are funded in their communities”.¹ This gave birth to the three-year initiative “A Right To Heal: Mental Health in Diverse Communities.” Throughout this project, which was comprised of community listening sessions in some of California’s most diverse counties, language access has been consistently cited as a major barrier to mental health care.² LEP communities continue to raise related issues surrounding: 

  • Awareness (lack of outreach in native languages to promote service availability) 
  • Accessibility (translated texts often involve highly technical language) 
  • Cultural accuracy (technically-correct translations are not field-tested in the community). 

With 44% of Californians over the age of five speaking a language other than English at home, combatting this issue is essential to improve access for underserved communities. 

photo of 6 people at CPEHN event on stage with a few people watching in the foreground

The 2023 A Right to Heal Conference

In September 2023, when CPEHN and its stakeholder partners convened for their third annual A Right to Heal: Centering Mental Health Multi-Racial Equity in California conference, they needed to be sure that every attendee had an opportunity to be heard. MHSOAC co-hosted, as well as the Latino Coalition for a Healthy California, California Consortium for Urban Indian Health, Southeast Asia Resource Action Center, and the California Black Health Network. With participants signing up from across the state, CPEHN included a question about language preference on their registration form. Based on this, they reached out to Avantpage to provide interpreters for the 2day in-person event. 

Avantpage Interpreters Join the Effort to Engage Diverse Communities

Sessions at the A Right to Health: Mental Health in Diverse Communities event included keynote speaker Sonia Guinansaca, a panel discussion, regional breakouts, and so-called “Tiny Teaches,” bite-sized breakout talks on key topics. Avantpage was delighted to provide support for each of these formats in five languages: Spanish, Vietnamese, Hmong, Khmer, and Laotian. With the event primarily taking place in a single ballroom, Avantpage needed to bring in booths, receivers, and headset technology to support the efforts of our twelve interpreters. As per industry standards, a minimum of two interpreters per language was provided (four for Spanish), due to the complex and tiring nature of simultaneous interpreting. Additionally, our translation and formatting teams produced in-language copies of the program agenda.  

Thanks to the thoughtful planning and ample preparation time given to us by CPEHN, we were able to carefully select interpreters who were not only qualified linguists, but truly part of the diverse communities they were interpreting for. Some of our team, even though they traveled far to work at the event, were reunited with familiar faces from within their broader community 

Photo of CPEHN event signage indicating where to go for translations

A Success Story for Increased Community Participation

Avantpage was thrilled to play a vital role in allowing LEP community members to take part in this valuable event and to share their thoughts around mental health and wellness in diverse communities. Vincent Chou, CPEHN’s Community Advocacy Manager, declared the event a resounding success and thanked Avantpage for our role and our position as champions of language access. 

Your dedicated team of skilled interpreters, led by your exceptional project manager, played an indispensable role in helping CPEHN address this pressing need at our event. By ensuring that our limited English-speaking audience could fully participate and enjoy the conference, you made it abundantly clear that this event was designed with them in mind.”

– Vincent Chou, Community Advocacy Manager

Avantpage was extremely grateful to CPEHN for their forethought and advance preparation for the language aspect of the Right to Heal event. Having the time to thoughtfully select our linguists and coordinate their travel played a huge part in this project’s success. Additionally, helping with accommodation for our out-of-town interpreters and making materials available ahead of time allowed them to be fully prepared for the event kick-off. 


  1. California Pan-Ethnic Health Network. A Right to Heal Mental Health in Diverse Communities. 2023.
  2. California Pan-Ethnic Health Network. A Right to Heal Mental Health in Diverse Communities. 2021.


Contact Us Today

For tips on how to prepare for your own event, and to learn more about how Avantpage can help you increase participation among LEP populations, contact us below.

To learn more about CPEHN and their tireless efforts to reduce disparities in California visit www.cpehn.org