communicationCultural Competence in Health and Social Services

“Embracing Diversity in Organizations”

The Center for Cultural Competence, Inc. provides training to organizations to improve trust and collaboration among people who are different from one another with respect to race, ethnicity, religion, accents, education, sexual orientation, physical ability, communication styles, physical presentation (clothing, tattoos, etc.) and other characteristics.

It’s natural for human beings to have feelings and thoughts about one another based on race, ethnicity, religion, physical characteristics, accent, dress, etc. When providers and patients feel they are different from one another, patients are less likely to speak openly or ask questions about their health care. The provider may miss information essential for developing an effective diagnostic and treatment plan. Culturally competent healthcare professionals encourage dialogue with the patient and adapt the diagnostic and treatment plan to the patient’s belief system and values. This is essential for patient adherence.

The Center for Cultural Competence, Inc.:

  • develops in-person and on-line training programs for health and social service providers.
  • conducts patient interviews and focus groups to get their perspective on local medical and social service providers.
  • evaluates the impact of training on provider performance using indicators such as patient satisfaction, patient no-show rates, re-admissions, and patient error or disinterest in complying with medical advice.

Medical Interpreting

When the provider and patient speak different languages, they need a qualified interpreter. Untrained interpreters often make errors, omitting some of what the provider or patient has said, or using the wrong word when interpreting. They may not accurately communicate the medical history or drug allergies, and the patient may not understand the treatment plan.

The Center for Cultural Competence, Inc. trains bilingual staff to interpret accurately and to follow the ethics and standards of practice of the National Council for Interpreting in Heath care and the International Medical Interpreters Association. We offer an oral exam for interpreters and individualized recommendations for improving their skills.

Health LiteracyHealth Literacy

Many adults are unable to read well enough to comprehend the directions on a medicine bottle. They may also lack skills such as:

  • the ability to measure medications – and to know the difference between a teaspoon and a tablespoon.
  • knowing when to take medications orally versus rectally, or directly in the eyes or ears.

The Center for Cultural Competence, Inc.:

  • trains clinicians to communicate effectively with patients of varying levels of education.
  • guides public health workers in creating messages that are easily understandable to a wide range of populations.