Cultural Competency & Health Literacy

Cultural Competency & Health Literacy

Understanding What’s Said and Done: CC/HL Forum Addressed Bias, Social Determinants

Half-day session provided partners the opportunity to learn from each other

On November 14, 2017, over 75 participants gathered in Pomona, NY, to explore and share Cultural Competency and Health Literacy (CC/HL) best practices and topics impacting the Hudson Valley. “This training furthers MHVC’s CC/HL strategy and commitment to enhance and transform health care of the population we serve in the Hudson Valley by addressing the social determinants of health, which includes cultural and linguistic needs,” according to Joan Chaya, MHVC’s Director of Workforce Development and Management. The MHVC CC/HL Workgroup, co-chaired by Nolly Climes and Nadia Allen, designed the forum as a way to share some of the work and other initiatives that is being done throughout region. There are plans for a second forum in 2018.

The MHVC CC/HL Workgroup gathered a stellar faculty for the half-day forum. The agenda included a keynote speaker, Dr. Michele Galietta, Associate Professor of Psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Galietta is a researcher and clinician specializing in the application, adaptation and dissemination of empirically-supported treatments to forensic and correctional settings; she spoke about implicit bias. Concurrent learnings sessions, delivered by Nadia Allen, MHA of Orange; and Kathy Brieger, Hudson River Health Care, reviewed resources for addressing the social determinants of health. The day concluded with a panel discussion on improving access to care, using data from community needs assessment, creating a welcoming environment for LGBTQ community, and caring for the special needs population. Panelists included: Christine Laplante, Director of Care Management for Cornerstone Family Healthcare; Rae Leiner, Director of Anti-Poverty Initiatives for Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative; Janet Murphy, Division Director of Community Living Services for Jawonio;  Joanne Goodman, Executive Director for C.A.N.D.L.E.; and Jacqueline Lawler, Epidemiologist for Orange County Department of Health. The panel was moderated by CC/HL Workgroup co-chair Nolly Climes.

“We wanted participants to hear what’s being done by their peers, and to see if they can  implement these approaches or share them with their organizations,” said Climes. The forum attracted supervisors, managers, administrators, change agents, and informal influencers. The program was structured to enable participants to discuss strategies on how to manage implicit bias; appraise ways on how to implement a cultural competency plan; describe the social determinants that impact health; and discuss culturally and linguistically appropriate care, especially for populations with special needs. For more information on the forum results or for information on the next forum, please contact Daniel Fontanez, Project Associate,

System Transformation

Workgroup Description

The cultural competency and health literacy (CC/HL) workgroup is comprised of a passionate and dedicated group of individuals representing our partner organizations across the Hudson Valley. The workgroup, which held its first meeting in December 2015, is committed to having a diverse range of members including age, gender, and ethnicity, as well as having provider, peer and patient representation.

This workgroup is an extension of our workforce subcommittee and is a critical part of our CC/HL strategy work. Members of the CC/HL workgroup will help guide the implementation of our CC/HL strategy implementation. Its tasks will include developing and implementing a CC/HL training strategy, providing support and information to our provider organizations, and ensuring that the lenses of cultural competency and health literacy are present and integrated throughout the work of MHVC.

Our workgroup is co-chaired by Nolly Climes of Rehabilitation Support Services and Kathy Brieger of HRHCare, with administrative support provided by MHVC staff members. The workgroup will initially meet on a monthly basis with the opportunity to review and revise the frequency as needed. Meetings will be held at rotating locations throughout the region to promote accessibility and sustainment for group members.


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