Empowering providers to navigate cultural differences

By Regence
October 31, 2016

Part of our mission to advance palliative care is provider outreach. We want to help providers serve our members through quality care driven by benefit support and education.

In September, we held a two-day training event, “Navigating Cultural Differences: Palliative Medicine Provider Education,” in downtown Seattle. Dr. Benjamin Danielson, medical director of The Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, delivered a transformative two-part keynote on cultural humility and allowing cultural awareness to change providers’ practice. Enrique Cerna of Washington Public Broadcasting’s KCTS Channel 9 moderated the presentations of 10 cultural representatives and audience interactions.

Leslie Foren, Palliative Care Implementation Manager at Regence, shared where it all started, saying “We want providers to ask, ‘What matters to you?’ But listening to the answer takes courage and commitment. It’s about showing respect, laying a foundation of trust and building bridges for use as a lifeline,” she says. “We were inspired to create a conference for providers where they could learn directly from leaders of diverse communities about their cultural attitudes and approaches to palliative and end-of-life care.”

“There were so many ‘Aha!’ moments,” wrote one attendee. “I appreciate the encouragement to address uncomfortable situations with curiosity. This has been wonderful and enlightening.”

Indra Neelameggham, representing Hindu-Indian culture, commented, “I cannot believe that an insurance company would do something like this. It’s extraordinary. I hope it’s just the beginning.” 

According to Michelle Schwartz, who leads Regence’s diversity and university programs, Regence’s commitment to be a leader in palliative care mirrors our commitment to diversity and inclusion. “We recognize that, at some point, all of us – employees, members and health care providers – will reach the end of our journeys. We believe providing culturally appropriate palliative care is essential for all members, from our youngest to our oldest. Helping to educate providers is a reflection of our organizational values and dedication to our members.”