Participant in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Population Leadership Program, Sokunthea Brings her Wealth of Experience to InDemand


Our interpreters are among the most qualified in the healthcare market, setting the highest standard for credentials, experience and training. This month we celebrate the skill and dedication of our diverse interpreter team and their commitment to ensuring all patients have access to safe, high quality care.

Sokunthea, “Thea,” had been practicing as a general practitioner in Cambodia for nearly two decades when she received a prestigious scholarship from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to participate in the Population Leadership Program (PLP) in 2000. The PLP brings together professionals from developing countries to expand their leadership skills and partners with them to create systemic improvements in population issues, family planning and reproductive health at the local, national and international levels. 

The PLP brought Thea to the United States where she was able to pursue her medical career. During her time in the PLP program, she studied reproductive and child health, both in the United States as well as in developing countries. Thea’s original plan was to study in the PLP program and bring her knowledge and leadership skills back to her native country of Cambodia. Instead, she was inspired by the Cambodian community in Seattle and decided to stay and continue her work in the United States. Once she completed the PLP program in 2002, she also received a second scholarship from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation where she pursued a master’s in social work at the University of Washington School of Social Work.

When she graduated in 2004, she began volunteering at the Red Cross Language Bank where she served as a Cambodian interpreter and also did a great deal of interpreting as a professional mental health therapist. Her experience as an interpreter sparked an interest in Thea to pursue interpreting as a career to leverage her deep medical background. Thea was able to get certified as a Cambodian interpreter from the Washington State Language Testing and Certification (DSHS) through the Red Cross in 2007. She continued to study on her own through translation and reading medical terminology.

Fortuitously, Thea discovered InDemand in 2014 and joined the company as an interpreter. Once she joined InDemand, she went through InDemand Interpreter Training and obtained accreditation from the Certification Commission for Healthcare Interpreters (CCHI).

“It has been incredibly rewarding working at InDemand,” she said. “My co-workers are very knowledgeable. It’s important to be surrounded by knowledgeable people when providing medical interpreting, and our team is very well-informed. I appreciate that InDemand selects the very best people for its interpreting jobs. I feel very confident using my medical background from Cambodia. It’s rewarding interpreting for a population who cannot speak the language. We serve as an important bridge between the patient and the provider.”

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