Our Partner SNI

Culturally Competent Care: UC San Diego Health

San Diego is the eighth-largest city in the United States and features broad ethnic diversity with more than half of the population identifying as Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, or African-American. About 4% of San Diegans identify as part of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) community. UC San Diego Health provides about 650,000 outpatient visits each year across its clinics, and works closely with community organizations like Health Center Partners, which represents the Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) in San Diego County. UC San Diego Health’s disparities reduction efforts through the Public Hospitals Redesign and Incentives in Medi-Cal (PRIME) program represents a true community effort. The system plans to leverage its award winning HERE (Health + Education + Research = Empowerment) Initiative, which is a collaboration of more than eighty organizations promoting health awareness, accessibility of healthcare, workforce diversity, research, and higher education for the underserved.

As part of PRIME, public health care systems are required to collect granular data on race, ethnicity, and language (REAL) and develop new workflows and systems to collect data on sexual orientation and gender identify (SOGI). Dr. Amy Sitapati, Chief Medical Information Officer for Population Health at UC San Diego Health, says getting the project off the ground required a similar collaborative spirit even within the health system itself. “To get the collection of REAL and SOGI data implemented, we needed more than fifty stakeholders from within our system to come to the table and agree. Every workflow is involved: operations, physicians and clinical staff, registration teams, all the research teams, and lots more. Projects of this scope can be incredibly hard to take on, but PRIME gave us the incentive to do it, and it’s going to make a big impact on our patients. This work is vital to our ability to be culturally competent, and we’re looking at the big picture through a new lens,” says Dr. Sitapati. “When you think about the foundation for good health care, it really is about understanding your patients – which means not just knowing about their health, but also knowing who they are.”

Want more information?

Learn more about PRIME in the CAPH/SNI Issue Brief.