Volunteers in Medicine receives $20,000 to fund cultural competency program

Volunteers in Medicine Clinic of the Cascades (VIM) has received two grants that will sponsor education programs for volunteers to help improve their cultural understanding of the medical care and outcomes for the growing number of VIM’s Latino patients.

VIM, who’s mission is to bridge the gap between the medically insured and the uninsured by providing healthcare on a donation basis to uninsured, low-income adults, was awarded $10,000 from the Robert W. Chandler Discretionary Subfund of the Oregon Community Foundation and $10,000 from the Robert W. Chandler II Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation.

“OCF is proud to support VIM in their work to increase cultural understanding of medical professionals who volunteer their services,” shared Kathleen Cornett, vice president of grants and programs. “These efforts will greatly reduce barriers for the growing number of Latino patients and will improve medical care and outcomes.”

Access to health insurance can be an obstacle for members of any immigrant community. Without insurance, individuals often seek care only when health issues arise, which fuels high rates of chronic disease. When a person has access to consistent medical care, diabetes, obesity, hypertension and many other diseases can be controlled and often completely prevented.

“We want all VIM patients to receive the same high quality of care. That takes skill that goes beyond a deep understanding of medicine,” said Kat Mastrangelo, executive director of VIM. “We also need to understand what people value and the different ways they process information. By elevating our understanding of the Latino culture, we are able to be more effective listeners and communicators, always with the end goal of improving health. This is why VIM’s cultural competency training program for volunteers is so important.”

For more information call 541-330-9001 or visit www.vim-cascades.org.

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