Chair Files

Listening, Learning and Improving Care

Community members are integral partners at Lehigh Valley Health Network in Pennsylvania, helping to ensure high-quality, equitable care. Based in the cities of Allentown, Bethlehem and Hazleton, LVHN for many years had provided culturally competent services, including telephonic interpreters, multilingual educational materials, and unit-specific cultural sensitivity projects. In 2006, during a patient-centered experience retreat with former patients, their family members and community representatives, LVHN realized it could do more and launched a networkwide cultural competency project. One project initiative addresses care for Latino patients, as the Latino population in Allentown alone doubled between 2000 and 2010. In 2007, the health network introduced Las Palabras (The Words), which educates community members to serve as medical interpreters alongside a trained network of employees. This initiative is a collaborative effort with Community Exchange, a time-banking project of the network’s Office of Health Systems Research and Innovation. Through Las Palabras, 63 community members have completed medical interpreter training and to date have provided more than 2,700 hours of interpretation for LVHN patients. These interpreters supplement seven full-time interpreters and about 150 employees who are cross-trained as interpreters, to serve all five campuses of the health network. LVHN also created Centro de Salud LatinoAmericano to serve as a bilingual and bicultural physician practice in internal medicine. Caring for more than 1,600 patients, Centro de Salud emphasizes chronic disease screening and management. As a result, 98 percent of patients served have received body mass index counseling; 97 percent have received tobacco use screening; and 75 percent of diabetic patients have an A1C level below 8.

For more information, contact Judith Natale Sabino, diversity/cultural awareness liaison, at Visit the Equity of Care website to read the complete case study and for videos, reports and other resources on eliminating health care disparities and providing culturally competent care.


Additional Resources

Webinars December 13th, 2017

Equity of Care Webinar SeriesPart 2: Aligning Diversity and Inclusion, Community Engagement, Busi......

Webinars November 20th, 2017

Equity of Care Webinar SeriesPart 1: Aligning Diversity and Inclusion, Community Engagement, Busi......

Webinars November 17th, 2017

Transportation and the Role of Hospitals This AHA webinar on “Transportation and the Role of Hos......