Patient care is enhanced when health care providers demonstrate cultural sensitivity and respect for patients’ beliefs and values. In fact, culturally appropriate care and communication can help direct a patient toward better health.
Oliver Goldsmith, MD, understood the importance of culturally responsive care, and made this a hallmark of his life’s work. As medical director of the Southern California Permanente Medical Group (SCPMG) from 1994 to 2003, and as chair of the Kaiser Permanente National Diversity Council, Dr. Goldsmith was instrumental in developing the organization’s culturally responsive care initiative.
Culturally responsive care is the delivery of high-quality care in a personalized way that takes into account and respects each of our diverse member's unique cultural and linguistic needs and perspectives.
One of Dr. Goldsmith’s greatest legacies is the scholarship program that was founded in his name in 2004. Recently, 13 medical students were recognized with the 12th annual Oliver Goldsmith, MD Scholarship for the Promotion and Advancement of Culturally Responsive Care.
The award celebrates medical students’ efforts to improve the health care of underserved communities. Each awardee receives a $5,000 scholarship, mentoring from a Kaiser Permanente clinician and a clinical rotation at a Kaiser Permanente facility.
“It will be physicians like you who will be the future of medicine, because eliminating disparities in health care represents the next frontier in medicine, as the U.S. population continues to become more diverse,” remarked Edward Ellison, MD, executive medical director and chairman, SCPMG, in his remarks at the scholarship ceremony.
This year’s scholarship recipients include Romina Kim, who is entering her fourth year at Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. Growing up in Argentina as a daughter of Korean immigrants, Kim struggled to assimilate and witnessed her family face medical challenges due to cultural and language barriers.
Today, she serves as volunteer coordinator at a large free clinic and is chapter president of the Latino Medical Student Association, where she educates medical students on Latino health issues. In 2013 she helped organize the Global Medical Training Program and traveled with them to care for patients in remote regions of Nicaragua. Fluent in Korean, English and Spanish, Kim plans to specialize in Pediatrics.
Goldsmith Scholarship recipient Daniel Ybarra served as a hospital corpsmen in the United States Navy from 2005-2011. While on active duty he was responsible for first-line medical response during combat operations.
Ybarra is currently working on a quality improvement project at The Veteran’s Administration in West Los Angeles designed to redirect homeless veterans who frequent the emergency room to visit primary care providers instead. Ybarra is entering his fourth year at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles and simultaneously pursuing a master’s degree in Public Health with a focus on policy and management. He plans to practice family medicine or emergency medicine.
The Goldsmith scholarship program is one of the many ways in which Kaiser Permanente continues to translate our values into action. Dr. Ellison encouraged the students to continue their work by noting. “Your altruism and commitment to reducing the cultural and linguistic barriers in health care align beautifully with our mission at Kaiser Permanente.”
The 2015 Goldsmith Scholarship winners include:
Learn more about the Oliver Goldsmith Scholarship.