2013 E Pluribus Unum WINNER
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Kaiser Permanente, based in Oakland, CA, is one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit health plans, serving more than 9.1 million members in eight states (California, Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Maryland, Virginia, Oregon, and Washington) and the District of Columbia. Its diverse members speak more than 150 languages, and many are from immigrant and refugee backgrounds. Kaiser Permanente’s workforce also mirrors this diversity through its rich cultural and linguistic teams of physicians, staff, and administrators.
Aligned with its social mission and expressed commitment to diversity and inclusion, Kaiser Permanente has been on a decades-long journey to develop innovative models and programs to enable effective in-language communication. From the beginning, the intent of this work has been to proactively respond to the needs of increasingly large and diverse pool of members and patients through many strategies to promote health equity, including the leverage of Kaiser Permanente’s multilingual workforce.
Kaiser Permanente’s National Linguistic and Cultural Programs (NLCP) focus on advancing health equity and the elimination of racial and ethnic health-care disparities through innovative, replicable, and effective language access strategies. By working internally across the enterprise and with the community, NLCP has disseminated various programs, including the Kaiser Permanente Qualified Bilingual Staff model and program; Clinician Cultural and Linguistic Assessment; Member Demographic Data Collection on Race, Granular Ethnicity, and Language; and the National Virtual Translation Center.
FOCUS ON EXCELLENCE: Providing Linguistically and Culturally Appropriate Care and Services
Immigrants and refugees confront numerous challenges in navigating the American health-care system. Yet access to quality health care is essential for the successful integration of immigrants into systems and society.
Kaiser Permanente’s significant investments in ensuring culturally and linguistically appropriate care and services offer a model and pathway to eliminate health-care disparities, control costs, and improve service quality and patient outcomes. Moreover, its partnerships internally and with community members demonstrate how resource sharing and collaboration extend the reach and impact of the work, thereby transforming Kaiser Permanente, its partners, and the marketplace.
Gayle Tang, MSN, RN
Gayle Tang is Senior Director of Kaiser Permanente National Diversity and Inclusion. She provides strategic consultation across Kaiser Permanente regions and national functions, as well as developing and spreading innovative programs and practices aimed at promoting quality, meaningful access, and affordable care and service delivery.
She pioneers innovations in diversity management, infrastructure, and systems design, culturally and linguistically appropriate care, and workforce development efforts. Ms. Tang is the principal architect of the award-winning Health Care Interpreter Certificate Program, Qualified Bilingual Staff Model and Program, Clinician Cultural and Linguistic Assessment — a Language Concordance Initiative, and Kaiser Permanente’s National Virtual Translation Center, a state-of-the art customized and centralized quality translation platform.
Ms. Tang has established impactful partnerships in advancing health equity and social justice for diverse populations and communities. Her work has been pivotal to setting industry standards and influencing public policy within Kaiser Permanente and across the nation. She leads pioneering efforts in meaningful data collection, National CLAS Standards implementation strategies, and Kaiser Permanente’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Health Equity Initiative.
She currently serves on the Board of the Asian Pacific Islander American Health Forum. Additionally, she is a member of America’s Health Insurance Plans Health Literacy and Health Equity Taskforces, and a member of the Office of Minority Health’s National Project Advisory Committee on development and publishing of the 2012 Enhanced CLAS Standards. She has won awards for nursing, diversity, and teaching, and was named the “Women Making History” award winner by the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women.
Ms. Tang completed undergraduate studies in nursing at the University of San Francisco and received her master of science with a focus on leadership and diversity at Sonoma State University. She also completed the Executive Leadership Program at Harvard University. She has published multiple articles and commentaries in business and health care journals, and coauthored the first California Healthcare Interpreter Standards of Practice and Code of Ethics. She is a part-time faculty member at City College of San Francisco.