General information

Allied Health Diversity in the Central Valley
Kaiser Permanente’s program for increasing diversity and cultural competency in the Central Valley allied health workforce

Background

The Central Valley is notorious for some of the worst health disparities in the state. In an effort to provide culturally competent and linguistically appropriate care, Kaiser sought to increase diversity in its Central Valley workforce.

Kaiser incorporated many strategies to increase diversity in its Central Valley workforce. First, Kaiser conducted training and assessment to increase the number of Qualified Bilingual Staff 2, staff who are able to provide translation and interpretation services to patients. Second, existing staff with limited English proficiency were offered the Sed de Saber vocational English as a second language training program. Third, Staff were offered an opportunity to take a Medical Terminology course, a pre-requisite for most allied health training programs. Finally, presentations were given at area high schools and community organizations which highlighted allied health programs, including program prerequisites and financial aid opportunities.

Methods

  • Kaiser has an existing partnership with Kern Community College to offer a training program to Kaiser staff in Spanish Medical Terminology. The curriculum is now being translated into three additional languages and a Spanish for Optometrists course is being developed. Staff who completed the Spanish medical terminology course were given assessment tests and promoted to Qualified Bilingual Staff 2.
  • Portable electronic notepads loaded with the Sed de Saber vocational English as a second language program were made available to limited English proficiency staff. These devices have been demonstrated to increase conversational English skills by 30% in a four to six month period. Participants took the notepads home to use in their daily lives and a personal tutor monitored participant progress every two weeks. Participants were recruited by managers and the Kaiser Permanente Latino Association.
  • Kaiser partnered with the Modesto Junior College to offer a three unit Medical Terminology course, a prerequisite for most allied health training programs. This course was offered over 10 weeks in the summer. A three-day Medical Terminology course presented by the Kaiser Permanente School of Allied Health was also offered.
  • Kaiser conducted a presentation to Johansen High School in Modesto highlighting the opportunities in allied health care and promoting Kaiser’s Summer Youth Employment Program, an eight-week program in which student interns work full-time and learn skills such as resume writing and public speaking. Through a partnership with Vision y Compromiso, Kaiser educated community members on the opportunities in the allied health field.

Key Partners

  • Kaiser Permanente Project Coordinator in Modesto, in charge of recruiting and coordinating for the Sed de Saber program.
  • Vision y Compromiso. Partnered with Kaiser to increase awareness of allied health programs in the community.
    1000 N. Alameda Street, Suite 350
    Los Angeles, CA, 90012
    • Maria Lemus, Executive Director (510) 303-3444
  • Modesto Junior College, offered a three unit Medical Terminology course, a prerequisite for most allied health training programs.
    435 College Avenue
    Modesto, CA 95350
  • Kern Community College, offered a training program to Kaiser Permanente staff in Spanish Medical Terminology.
  • Johansen High School, students were informed of opportunities in allied health and invited to participate in Kaiser’s Summer Youth Employment Program.
    641 Norseman Drive
    Modesto, CA 95357

Outcomes

Major successes include:

  • Extended opportunities for training in linguistically appropriate care. 31 Kaiser staff attended the Spanish Medical Terminology course. The course materials are now being prepared in three additional languages and a Spanish for Optometrists course is being developed. These resources will make it much easier to serve the diverse population in the Central Valley, over half of which is minority.
  • Increased English proficiency among limited English proficiency staff. 21 staff participated in the Sed de Saber vocational English as a second language program, with nearly all reaching a three or four English proficiency level upon completion. Participants reported greater confidence in communicating and better enunciation after completion of the program. The equipment used for the program is reusable and can continue to increase English proficiency among staff for years to come.
  • Increased interest in medical terminology training. While only a few staff signed up for the 10-week Medical Terminology course, many others expressed interest in the three-day medical terminology training. This will make it much easier for staff to pursue training in allied health programs.
  • Increased student awareness of allied health programs. After presentations to area high schools, Kaiser received over 200 applications from students interested in the Summer Youth Employment Program. These interns received valuable job training and learned about the opportunities in allied health careers. Students expressed an increased awareness of allied health career following the presentations.
  • Increased community awareness of allied health programs. Through presentations and door-to-door outreach, Kaiser and Vision y Compromiso informed the community of opportunities in allied health careers. Community members reported that they learned about career opportunities they did not know about before and learned important information to share with their children.

Unexpected Challenges

Additional staff time was crucial to supporting and coordinating projects. In addition, the development of the Kaiser Permanente Latino Strategy delayed the implementation of portions of the program.

Photo Gallery

Commands