Reducing Health Disparities for Latinos: Cambia Health Foundation Grant Expands Culturally Appropriate Palliative Care Training Across Pacific Northwest

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Investment Allows Familias en Acción to provide training to 2,400 health professionals in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Utah

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Culturally appropriate care is the ability of providers and organizations to effectively deliver health care services that meet the social, cultural, and linguistic needs of patients.

A recent Cambia Health Foundation investment of $318,900 will expand an Oregon-based training curriculum in culturally appropriate palliative care of Latinos to Washington, Idaho and Utah. The Foundation grant will allow Familias en Acción to provide advanced palliative care training to 2,400 health professionals and patient navigators in all four states.

An important element of reducing health disparities in communities of color, cultural competence – or culturally appropriate care – is the ability of providers and organizations to effectively deliver health care services that meet the social, cultural, and linguistic needs of patients.

Health care participants in the Familias en Acción 2014 Palliative Care of Latinos Summit overwhelmingly expressed the need for training in providing palliative care for the entire age range of their Latino patients. The expanded curriculum, developed in partnership with the University of Portland, will increase healthcare providers’ understanding of how palliative care for Latinos is different than for non-Hispanic patients. Participants will understand how they, individually and systemically, can empower patients to become active in their care.

According to the National Hispanic Council on Aging, Hispanic older adults disproportionately suffer from afflictions such as diabetes and HIV; and it’s estimated that more than 80% have at least one chronic condition, with diabetes mortality rates twice those of the general population. Latino children and young adults are experiencing increasing rates of severe and life threatening diseases, such as cancer and chronic kidney disease, with poorer health outcomes and higher mortality rates than non-Hispanics.

“Culturally appropriate palliative care can help improve health outcomes and quality of care,” said Elyse Salend, Cambia Health Foundation program officer. “This investment fits Cambia Health Foundation’s goals of advancing quality, access and understand of palliative care, and transforming health care to be more person-focused, affordable and equitable.”

“This curriculum is an engaging, multi-modal training addressing culturally specific palliative care of Latinos by providing relevant training on cross-cultural issues to health professionals that reduce cultural and linguistic barriers to quality patient care,” said Gail Brownmiller, executive director of Familias en Acción.

Development and roll-out of the expanded curriculum is a highly collaborative effort planned in three phases:
1)     Using recommendations from a national advisory council of experts in palliative care and in Latino health, data from focus groups, individual interviews and a literature review, Familias en Acción staff will develop the online instructional program and videos in partnership with University of Portland Academic Technology Services.

2)    Health professionals throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Utah will receive palliative care training in partnerships with health systems including:
o    Providence Health Services in Oregon and Washington
o    St. Alphonsus Health System and St. Luke’s Health system in Idaho

3)    The California State University Institute for Palliative Care will incorporate the advanced curriculum into their catalog of palliative care courses, with both the in-person and online trainings offering CEUs.

About Familias en Acción
The mission of Familias en Acción is to promote holistic family well-being for Latinos through community engagement, education, research and advocacy for social change. The organization’s priorities include chronic disease patient navigation and education, Spanish language support groups, community leadership development, and elimination of health disparities. Learn more at

About Cambia Health Foundation
Cambia Health Foundation is the corporate foundation of Cambia Health Solutions, a total health solutions company dedicated to transforming the way people experience health care. A 501(c)(3) grant-making organization, the Foundation strategically invests and partners with organizations to advance palliative care quality, access and understanding; improve the behavioral health of underserved children; and transform health care to a more person-focused, equitable and economically sustainable system. Learn more at or follow us on Twitter.


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Lisa Honebrink
Cambia Health Solutions
+1 (503) 721-4094
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