Sixth National Conference on Quality Health Care for Culturally Diverse Populations: Roundtable Sessions Providing Effective Cultural Competency Training for Healthcare Professionals

Roundtable A Assessing the quality of cultural competence training – what are the markers of an effective program, and is it time for a national standard or other rating system?

Providing Effective Cultural Competency Training for Healthcare Professionals
Monday, September 22, 2008: 4:15 PM-6:00 PM, Minn Marriott, 6th Floor - St. Croix I
  1. A brief description of the specific topic/initiative you will discuss

The goal of the presentation is to address the important role cultural competency training plays in the bigger issue of addressing healthcare disparities. Dr. Green will provide a view from the field – trends in policy, as well as how organizations are now implementing a new, on-line cultural competency training program. He then will demonstrate a program that was developed specifically to train frontline staff at healthcare organizations nationwide called Quality Interactions for Healthcare Employees. Quality Interactions is an e-learning program that provides interactive, case-based instruction on cross-cultural health care. This interactive program teaches concepts and skills for understanding and interacting effectively with individuals from culturally diverse backgrounds including patients, customers, and coworkers. There is also a clinical version of the program for doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals.

  1. Successes of your program/innovative approach

The Quality Interactions program uses an innovative e-learning format to allow access to participants 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It has proven to be an effective and efficient way to implement cultural competency training for large and small organizations with minimal preparation time and a useful tracking mechanism for completion, performance, and evaluation. Today the program has been used to train over 12,000 healthcare professionals around the country at leading institutions including Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Mayo Clinic, Aetna Healthcare, and several BlueCross-BlueShield Health Plans.

3. Challenges you face(d) and how they were addressed

Dr. Green will provide an overview of the challenges faced in administering our online cultural competency training and will conclude with the steps taken to address these challenges. Challenges include:

  • Effective implementation models
  • Measuring outcomes of cultural competency training
  • Integrating e-learning with live training

4. Practical advice for replication, lessons learned, take-home tools/techniques/resources

The session will cover key lessons learned from several years of experience using e-learning to train large organizations in cultural competency for both clinical and non-clinical interactions. We will discuss the use of a facilitator’s guide to implement a hybrid approach, integrating e-learning with live training.

  • Course Overview with Case Selections.pdf (90.9 kB)
  • Presentation Information:

    Program: Roundtable Sessions
    Primary Category: Cultural Competence Training
    Subtopics: Distance learning, Continuing education/on-the-job learning, Organizational plans, policies, management strategies

    Region Addressed by Presentation: National
    Organization: Health Care System
    Population/Demographic: Frontline staff at a healthcare org
    Keywords: Cultural Competence, Education, E-Learning, Diversity, Healthcare


    Alexander R. Green, MD, MPH , The Disparities Solutions Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA
      Associate Director
      Massachusetts General Hospital
      The Disparities Solutions Center
      50 Staniford Street
      9th Floor, Suite 901
      Boston MA, USA 02114

      Phone: 617-724-1913
      Fax: 617-726-4120
      Email Address:

      Biographical Sketch:
      Dr. Green’s work centers on culturally competent approaches to quality improvement, clinician biases as root causes of racial and ethnic disparities in health care, and education on cross-cultural health care. He has served on expert panels and advisory boards including the Joint Commissions’ Hospitals, Language, and Culture project, and he chairs the Cross Cultural Care Committee at Harvard Medical School.