Cultivating A Culturally Competent Culture: Building Diverse and Inclusive EMS Agencies

Held Friday, May 13, 2022

Watch the Recording Now and Join the Discussion Forum

Make a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion plan for your agency.

Meg Marino, MD

Emily Nichols, MD

From 911 dispatch to hospital handoff, EMTs and paramedics are tasked with receiving a myriad of medical complaints and translating them into a diagnosis that impacts acute care, disposition, and hospital provider first impressions. As communities across the US grow and diversify, prehospital providers must learn to work most effectively across cultures in a manner that values the unique health disparities of a population and its direct impact on patient needs, healthcare compliance, and provider trust. 

Drs. Marino and Nichols presented a strategic approach for building a culturally competent workplace. Their strategy includes not only provider education but also active recognition of “cultural empathy” as a strength essential for successful hiring and promotions. Through employee engagement and the recognition of “diversity as excellence” New Orleans EMS has used their collective minds to successfully grow a cadre of providers more fit each day to competently care for the unique city that they serve. NAEMSP President Dr. Michael Levy hosted as moderator.

During this discussion we:

  • Described historical incidents of unconscious bias within Emergency Medicine and EMS
  • Recited the varied social identifiers and types of diversity within the workplace
  • Explained the differences between (a) diversity & inclusion and (b) equality & equity
  • Identified personal and departmental opportunities for improving cultural competency
  • Constructed a framework for implementing cultural change within agencies
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