“Elemental Partners offered a thoughtful and nonjudgmental process that allowed us to interact with openness. They brought the topic to life with exercises that challenged us to identify internal and external bias. It was a touching discourse on cultural awareness and moral responsibility.”

Dr. John Burkhardt, Founding Director, National Forum on Higher Education University of Michigan, School of Education

Trans: Prefix meaning “across”

Cultural: Of or pertaining to the sum total of ways of living built up by a group of human beings and transmitted from one generation to another.

Culture is an expression of shared meaning and identity – the lens through which we experience and understand our worlds.  

Just as we each have distinct ideas about how to get things done, organizations, communities, and groups also have distinct and habitual ways of perceiving and interacting with others.  When groups align with similar traditions and culture, they can understand signals and often can proceed with a minimum amount of distraction.  Group expectations and norms can, in homogeneous groups, go unsaid. 

But when groups come together from diverse traditions and cultures, relating and working together can prove to be complex. Uncertainty, suspicion, frustration, and inability to reach consensus can result. To achieve productive and sustainable outcomes, all members need to establish sufficient relational trust to sustain communities that can draw from the strengths of their respective cultures.  Each individual must draw upon basic communication skills while learning to facilitate processes that work trans-culturally.

The Transcultural Bridge requires people to engage in inclusive actions such as planning, implementation and evaluation. Leaders must strive to ensure that all levels participate in these inclusive processes. Each individual must also commit to building his or her level of cultural capacity. The journey is continuous and requires sustained vigilance and courage.

Understanding the perspectives and biases each of us brings is a crucial part of an effort to become compassionate and effective leaders. This understanding needs to come from both head and heart. Together we will work to clarify, align and integrate these perspectives so that they become palpable and shared.

Read our case study

UCSF | Center for Health Care Professions

Building Cultural Capacity

Overview
For years, the Center for Health Care Professions (CHCF) at the University of California at San Francisco ran a successful fellowship program, training over health care professionals throughout California in leadership development and organizational skills. However, feedback from the fellows indicated that they wanted more training on cultural competence. CHCF had struggled with integrating the topic into the program, with concerns of scale – what is too much or too little?

Solution
CHCF contracted with Elemental Partners to present their curriculum, “The Transcultural Bridge: Building Individual and Institutional Cultural Capacity.”  After some trial and error, we settled on a four-hour session focused on building individual capacity in the fall, followed by a four-hour session focused on building institutional capacity in the winter.  This allowed time for the fellows practice their skills during the inter-session and return with questions during at the follow-up session.

Outcome
Since 2010, Elemental Partners has provided the The Transcultural Bridge series to over 500 fellows. The fellows’ evaluations on knowledge of the topic and presentation effectiveness have averaged 4.85 (out of 5.00). The Transcultural Bridge is now a standing part of the CHCF program curriculum.

 

“I have participated in many cultural competency workshops over the years, including facilitating several myself.  I wondered what new information I would gather. I was extremely pleased to see how Kevin provided a unique approach to the topic. The activities offered were engaging, informative and thought-provoking, and I appreciated that they didn’t focus heavily on the notion of stereotypes and generalizations. The workshop topic can be a delicate one, and I sensed that the group was at times a bit apprehensive about the topic, but I felt the approach was a very effective one, not alienating anyone and really creating a very inclusive experience for everyone.”

– Dr. Rohan Radhakrishna, CHCF Cohort 14 Fellow

The process begins with a four-part series of trainings on The Transcultural Bridge. They are:

1) Building Individual Capacity;  
2) Building Institutional Capacity; 
3) Understanding and Dismantling Personal and Structural Bias; and 
4) Engaging “the other” in Courageous and Respectful Conversations.

These trainings provide activities that clients can incorporate into their own policies and practices to address the ongoing and evolving nature of this work. Details of each training appear, along with additional services, are provided below.

Session 1:
Building Individual Cultural Capacity

Participants will be able to:

1) Define culture in the context of the organization’s mission, vision, and values;
2) Explore the dynamics and behaviors that create communications barriers among diverse groups, and explore tools and processes that foster toward positive outcomes; and
3) Facilitate processes to further integrate cultural capacity, diversity and inclusion in day-to-day operations.

Session 2:
Building Institutional Cultural Capacity

Participants will be able to:

1) Assess the cultural capacity and readiness of your organization or team;
2) Understand the leadership opportunities and challenges in addressing issues of building cultural capacity, diversity and inclusion;
3) Use tools to build and sustain culturally competent policies and practices at individual and organizational levels.

Prerequisite: Session 1: Building Individual Cultural Capacity

Session 3:
Understanding and Dismantling Personal and Structural Bias

Participants will be able to:

1) Explore the personal and societal impact of implicit bias and toxic stress.
2) Learn about the science behind implicit bias.
3) Develop skills to manage and prevent implicit bias, both personally and professionally.

Prerequisite: Session 1: Building Individual Cultural Capacity

Session 4:
Engaging “the other” in Courageous and Respectful Conversations

Participants will be able to:

1) Understand the opportunities and challenges in addressing issues of implicit bias, cultural capacity, diversity, and inclusion.
2) Utilize tools to build and sustain culturally competent policies and practices in your organization.
3) Facilitate processes to further integrate cultural capacity, diversity and inclusion in your day-to-day work.

Prerequisite: Session 1: Building Individual Cultural Capacity and Session 3: Understanding and Dismantling Personal and Structural Bias