Hallmark Health focuses on cultural diversity

With funding from the Blue Cross Foundation’s “Pathways to Culturally Competent Health Care,” Hallmark Health’s Diversity Steering Committee has brought in Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation’s Culture Insight Team to conduct an assessment of policies, procedures and practices involved in patient care, staff development, recruitment and retention; as well as provide education and training to all staff members.

Consultants surveyed staff, patients and local residents to assess perceptions towards Hallmark Health. The assessment found that staff members from both Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital were proud of their institutions and the care they provide. Still, more work needs to be done to ensure that Hallmark Health presents a consistent environment that is more open and welcoming to multicultural populations.

“Providing culturally competent care is much more than providing interpretation services,” said Diane Farraher-Smith, RN, senior vice president for home care and community services at Hallmark Health as well as a member of the Diversity Steering Committee. “It involves improving listening skills, embracing diversity at every turn, increasing sensitivity and respect to cultural differences and reaching out in the community to create a welcoming environment that people from all ethnic backgrounds and cultures immediately sense whenever they come to Hallmark Health for care.”

This year the Diversity Steering Committee has increased the size of its membership and as part of the second year of the grant, is working with the Harvard Pilgrim Health Institute and other groups on strategies to improve the level of cultural competence throughout the organization. Education and training on how to provide care that is sensitive to the needs of various cultures has begun for all Hallmark Health staff.

For more information about Hallmark Health, visit www.hallmarkhealth.org or follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/hallmarkhealth.

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Hallmark Health System is the premier, charitable provider of vital health services to Boston's northern communities. The system includes Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford, Melrose-Wakefield Hospital, Melrose, Hallmark Health Cancer Center, Stoneham, and Hallmark Health Medical Center.

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