‘All-Star’ Teaching Team Includes Resources From Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center (AHEC); Ragan & Amos Executive Coaching & Diversity Consulting; and Community Health Worker Network of Buffalo
Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center (ENAHEC) is the lead contractor in Millennium’s CCHL training initiative. The ENAHEC Team pictured above includes Shealyn McCoy, MPH, Program Coordinator; Danise C. Wilson, MPH, Executive Director; Brittany Mitchell, MSW, Program Coordinator; Greer Hamilton, MSW, Program Manager.
By Courtney McDermott
With rapidly changing patient demographics, fueled in large part by tremendous diversity among immigrants and refugees coming to Western New York, “Cultural Competency and Health Literacy” (CCHL) knowledge and skills are more essential than ever for today’s healthcare providers.
Sheila Kee, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, NFMMC
“Our healthcare workforce needs support, training and ongoing education about the importance of Health Literacy and Cultural Competency,” said Sheila Kee, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center.
“The patients want to be able to share their issues with the provider. They’ll be more apt to do that if they feel the provider cares about them; understands them; and is willing to work within their cultural norms. That is what healthcare is all about!” (VIDEO: This is Change!)
MEETING THE NEED
To meet this increasing need, Millennium Collaborative Care, under the leadership of Kimberly Backey, Manager of Cultural Competency & Diversity Initiatives, has collaborated with training development and delivery experts including contractor Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center (ENAHEC) and subcontractors Ragan & Amos Executive Coaching & Diversity Consulting; and Community Health Worker Network of Buffalo.
“CCHL training is key to providing cultural and linguistic competence to healthcare providers,” explained Kimberly. “It enables them to reduce racial and ethnic disparities and makes them more culturally aware of their environment.”
Photo: Kimberly Backey, Manager of Cultural Competency & Diversity Initiatives, Millennium Collaborative Care; Yvonne Minor-Ragan, Ph.D, President & CEO and Antoinette Amos, Managing Partner, Ragan & Amos Executive Coaching & Diversity Consulting
Over the past six months, this “All Star” team has delivered CCHL training to over 2,000 individuals and over 200 partner organizations, including Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and Erie County Medical Center (ECMC). The staff member training is combined with the use of interpreter services, and in many cases, bilingual providers all in a comprehensive effort to improve healthcare delivery by eliminating cultural differences.
“Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center (ENAHEC) is a fortunate partner of MCC PPS,” said Danise C. Wilson, MPH, Executive Director of Erie Niagara Area Health Care Education, the lead contractor in Millennium’s CCHL training initiative. “Through our collaboration, we have been able to deliver high quality and informative Cultural Competency and Health Literacy content to the eight counties of WNY. Educating the healthcare workforce is a priority of ENAHEC and our sub-contractors. We acknowledge that changing the culture of healthcare and delivery services has to happen at a patient, professional and organizational level through education and self-reflection.”
Photo: ECMC team members attend CCHL training led by Dr. Minor-Ragan.
“Healthcare facilities are making the necessary changes to reduce racial and ethnic health disparities in order to provide a more comfortable environment for their patients,” explained Yvonne Minor-Ragan, Ph.D, President and CEO of Ragan & Amos Executive Coaching & Diversity Consulting. (Antoinette Amos serves as Managing Partner.)
“It is important that we continue to teach healthcare professionals the importance of this problem and to continue to work towards a better healthcare system for all races and ethnicities.”
According to Dr. Minor-Ragan, Millennium-sponsored CCHL training sessions are ongoing and provided in several delivery formats including face-to-face, webinars and Health Workforce (HW) Apps that are designed to meet the needs of the respective organization.
“It’s a continuous effort because there’s no way you can learn and appreciate cultural diversity in one training session so we have to do deep dives and allow for interaction, allow for feedback and even allow for personal experiences in all of the areas that we talked about,” said Dr. Ragan. “It’s important because there’s no doubt that it impacts positively the healthcare field.”
Recent survey results support Dr. Minor-Ragan’s conclusions.
Of those trained over the past six months, 86 percent responded that they would recommend this training.
Photo: Karen Ziemianski, MS, RN, Senior Vice President of Nursing, ECMC
“I think Cultural Competency and Health Literacy are very important to achieve the outcomes that we want to have for our patients, and because it represents our mission here at the hospital,” explained Karen Ziemianski, MS, RN, Senior Vice President of Nursing, who attended a recent training session at ECMC.
Attendees also commented that they had received “a better understanding of everyone’s differences and how they affect healthcare” and “better understand elements of cultural competency including the need to integrate in all levels of organization.”
“When patients feel that you care about them by learning about them, by respecting their culture and how they practice their rituals, then they begin to trust you,” concluded Dr. Minor-Ragan.
“And when they trust you and know that you have empathy for them, then they will follow your directions and it can lead to coming in more readily when they are sick, keeping appointments, and practicing preventive care for themselves and their family.”
Dr. Minor-Ragan and Antoinette Amos lead a discussion with ECMC team members.
Danise C. Wilson, MPH, is Executive Director of Erie Niagara Area Health Education Center (ENAHEC), the lead contractor in Millennium’s CCHL training initiative.
“Training’s provided by ENAHEC and its subcontractors encourages practitioners and organizations to respect, embrace, and champion diversity beyond race and ethnicity,” concluded Danise Wilson. “Recognizing the intent of each training is to increase knowledge and begin conversations that will create an effective and sustainable impact in the health delivery system, ultimately increasing the overall communities health. As the tapestry of WNY is becoming more vibrant, the healthcare workforce must adjust to meet the needs of the community we serve. At ENAHEC we believe, improving the health workforce cannot happen to or for the practitioners or patients, but with them!
The ENAHEC Team delivers a training session.