emergency care

Russian Navigator Program

Recognizing a huge need for Russian-language support in the health care setting, Adventist Health Portland began reaching out directly to the area’s Slavic community. Part of this outreach is staffing our emergency room with Russian-speaking navigators.

These navigators help our Russian-speaking patients communicate with providers. Equally important, they provide an important cultural bridge between providers and patients whose experiences in the Soviet Union have left them resistant to the medical establishment.

Our Russian-speaking navigators


Anna Yelsukova

I was born and raised in a small town by the sea in Ukraine. In 2010, I moved to join my family in New York, where I decided to pursue career in health care.

I graduated from Brooklyn College City University of New York with a degree in biology science and emphasis on pre-med courses. While at school I also volunteered as a language ambassador at New York Presbyterian hospital.

After graduating from college, I worked in nursing homes as an optometric assistant. The majority of patients in the nursing homes where I worked only spoke Russian, so my second duty was interpretation.

With my experience volunteering and working closely with the members of the Slavic community, I realized that there’s a lot of misunderstanding and mistrust between our community and the American health care system. My goal was to provide a platform for a smooth and trusting communication between an English-speaking provider and a patient.

After moving to Portland in 2019, I got an amazing opportunity to join the Slavic navigator team at Adventist Health Portland. I cannot tell you enough what a rewarding experience this has been, especially when you see that your efforts and understanding of the patients’ cultural needs helps to make providers’ day easier and, at times, even saves someone’s life.


Irina Klimenko

I was born and raised in Almaty, Kazakhstan. Throughout my entire childhood and young adulthood, I was highly involved in my church, my family and my work. I

graduated from the Institute of Foreign Languages and Multidisciplinary Studies as an interpreter and translator.

I moved to the United States with my family in 2012 and came straight to Oregon. I began my career at a local interpretation agency and soon was promoted services coordinator. In 2019, I joined the Slavic navigator team at Adventist Health Portland.

I truly enjoy using my skills and experience to uplift and support people at the time of need. I help take care of people during their happiest and saddest times. I feel inspired by the wonderful patients I have the privilege to be serving.

When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time with my family and my daughter. We love the Oregon coast, long drives and delicious food. I also feel blessed that I have many opportunities to travel and explore USA with my parents in their RV. That's how I make memories and spend time with my favorite people.

I feel truly lucky to be able to serve my community, to help them and to be inspired by them.