Nearly one-fourth of the patient visits to the pediatric care center at Children’s Mercy Hospital each year are by Spanish-speaking families. The UMKC School of Medicine recognized Clinicas Hispana de Cuidados de Salud (CHICOS), a CMH program meeting the needs of the Spanish-speaking community, with the first Award for Excellence in Diversity and Health Equity in Medicine from the School’s Office of Diversity and Community Partnership at the annual Faculty Dinner on Jan. 16 at the Sheraton, Crown Center.
School of Medicine Docent David Hermanns, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and a past member of the School’s faculty council, presented the award to Jane Knapp, M.D., associate dean for CMH programs, on behalf of John Cowden, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics, who initiated the program in 2008.
The Faculty Dinner has been an annual event since 2003, in which School of Medicine Dean Betty Drees, M.D., and faculty have gathered to celebrate the accomplishments of the past year and take a look at the School’s goals for the future.
Last April, the School announced it would launch a new award to celebrate faculty and initiatives that create a more inclusive institutional culture and improve access and opportunities for the surrounding community. The Award for Excellence in Diversity and Health Equity in Medicine also recognizes efforts to expand the understanding of health equity, health disparities and cultural competency in medicine.
The CHICOS program combines medical education with cross-cultural education and has improved the care of patients who are vulnerable to poor communication by developing formally-trained bilingual and cross-cultural physicians with the aid of two dedicated in-house Spanish-speaking interpreters.
Since its beginning in 2008, the CHICOS program has grown to include more than 15 percent of all CMH residents, who have provided bilingual care for more than 1,200 supervised visits by Spanish-speaking patients.