Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Importance of Our Cultural Competency

Since CHRISTUS Health began Feb. 1, 1999, its Senior Leadership Team has had performance goals to enhance diversity focus in our health care ministry. In 2000 when we embarked on our journey across the border to work with the Muguerza family in Mexico, we knew we would have to develop a culture competency as we worked with and developed health care delivery processes for the people who lived in another country. Although we have been extremely successful in our initial international effort, the senior team, in collaboration with the board, is increasing our focus on diversity by implementing multiple initiatives, including the formation of a system-wide diversity council and our hiring of a System Director of Diversity and Inclusion.

We are all in agreement that a diverse organization that develops a wide range of cultural competencies is best positioned for success. The various positive outcomes and competitive advantages of such organizations are articulated an article which appeared in the September-October 2010 edition of the Physician Executive Journal of Medical Management. Entitled, “Cultural Competency in Health Care Organizations: Why & How?,” this article describes the important strategies that are necessary to implement in creating a cultural competent workforce which ultimately helps patients in various ways, including reducing the risks for medical errors and malpractice claims. The article stresses that, “race and ethnicity concordance alone do not make cultural competence. Providers need specific knowledge and skill sets to provide culturally competent care.” As always, we are hopeful this information will be helpful as we continue our commitment to enhancing our cultural competency.

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