Affinity Groups Encourage Culturally Competent Care at Memorial Healthcare System


System Hollywood, FL

Memorial Healthcare System’s focus on diversity helps us to better understand and meet the needs of the communities we serve. Embracing a diverse workforce, Memorial fosters an atmosphere of respect, understanding and trust. By doing so, our employees provide a higher level of culturally competent patient- and family-centered care.

Memorial provides opportunities for employees who are connected by common dimensions of diversity to develop professionally and achieve personal growth, while educating multicultural communities about health concerns specific to their ethnic background.

Such affinity groups as the Broward County Chapter of the National Black Nurses Association, the Broward County Chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses, and the Philippine Nurses Association of South Florida bring nurses throughout Broward County together to build relationships, engage in community activities and provide mutually beneficial support. Furthermore, Memorial employees who are members of these groups help educate other employees about delivering culturally competent care.

Community involvement serves as a cornerstone of the Broward County Chapter of the National Black Nurses Association’s (BCNBNA) activities. “We regularly participate in local health fairs to promote healthy lifestyles and provide quality care in our communities,” said Cornell Hampton, RN, BSN, Nurse Manager of Surgical Trauma at Memorial Regional Hospital and president of the BCNBNA. “These activities truly show Memorial’s support of our diverse communities, as well as our employees.”

Hampton notes that the partnership between the BCNBNA and Memorial allows the group to honor hospital employees. “During Nurses Week, we partnered with local African-American churches to recognize our nurses, who are members of the churches, at their weekly services.” According to Fortuna Borrego, RN, MSN, Director of Nursing Medical/Surgical/Telemetry at Memorial Hospital West, the Broward County Chapter of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses provides a voice for Hispanic nurses and Hispanic healthcare in the community. “Our education and focus on healthcare disparities in Hispanic populations guided our partnership with the National Bone Marrow Donor Program to register Hispanics as donors. During a recent drive, we were able to register 15 donors and spread the word about the importance of bone marrow donation,” said Borrego.

The Philippine Nurses Association is also active within the Memorial community and works to educate members of the Filipino community about healthy lifestyles and encouraging members of the community to consider healthcare as a career field.

Membership in these affinity groups helps to enhance the level of culturally competent care provided to our patients and their families – an important factor in eliminating healthcare disparities in under-served populations. “Memorial’s diverse workforce allows us to respond effectively to the cultural and linguistic needs that emerge during patient care,” said Borrego, who also serves as Secretary for the National Association of Hispanic Nurses. “As a result, we can easily provide bilingual access during patient rounds by providing a bilingual nurse or patient care associate.” Hampton and Borrego, both of whom are longtime Memorial employees, agree that the health system’s support of these professional affinity groups demonstrates its commitment to understanding and developing cultural competency. “It is commitments like this one to diversity that help to enhance The Memorial Experience,” said Hampton. “Knowing that we are supported by our employer makes all of the difference in the success of our efforts.”