One America - Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS) Customer Service and Cultural Diversity Program

Program: Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS) Customer Service and Cultural Diversity Program, Phoenix, AZ
Contact(s): Luis Gendreau, Community Relations Director: (602) 267-5712
Purpose: To improve patient care and customer service through cultural sensitivity training and community outreach

Background Program Operations Outcomes


Maricopa Integrated Health System (MIHS) is a service of the Maricopa County government and is the primary source for low-income health care in the Phoenix region. In 1995, the Community Relations Department of MIHS created the Customer Service and Cultural Diversity Program in response to growing concerns about the lack of cultural understanding shown towards patients. (Patients had claimed they were subject to culturally insensitive treatment.) The patient population served by Maricopa Medical Center is approximately 50% Hispanic, 10% African American and 5% Native American. The remaining population is white and Asian.

Program Operations

The Customer Service and Cultural Diversity Program consists of two sections: the Culturally Specific Care Committee and the Cultural Diversity Program. The care committee consists of diverse groups of hospital staff tasked with instilling practices of cultural understanding into patient care. For example, the committee has set a goal of developing resource lists of different healers such as Eastern/Asian practitioners and Native American tribal healers for establishing patient treatment plans. The committee is also developing an advisory group composed of community stakeholders to further integrate culturally sensitive practices. The diversity program educates staff about different cultural norms and mores. The curriculum is both formal and informal, contingent upon the results of a pre-training survey. Using the survey results, a trainer allows staff to explore issues of cultural differences in perception and practice. The program is also a standard component in new employee orientation.

Outcomes and Significant Accomplishments

The Customer Service and Cultural Diversity Program has produced an 84-page health care provider manual titled, "Providing Health Care to the Hispanic Community," which outlines a culturally sensitive strategy for servicing this population, and plans to produce similar books for the African American, Native American and Asian populations. The Cultural Diversity Program received the 1995 Multicultural Diversity Award for its innovations in staff training.

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