News Releases

April 22, 2011
For Immediate Release
For additional information: 
Barbara Kerr, APR
Executive Director of Communications and Marketing
Telephone: 360-992-2921


The healing power of good communication

Clark College Corporate & Continuing Education
develops cultural awareness training
for Southwest Washington Medical Center employees


VANCOUVER, Wash. – Imagine all the problems which could arise if you and your health care providers aren’t speaking the same language.  Clark College Corporate and Continuing Education has developed an innovative learning solution to train Southwest Washington Medical Center health care employees who serve patients from Vancouver’s diverse population groups. The $105,000 project is funded through a $70,000 grant administered by Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council and includes $35,000 in matching funds from Southwest Washington Medical Center.

Training will begin in May 2011 for 40 Southwest Washington Medical Center staff members and is scheduled to be completed by June 30.  Staff members will learn ways to improve patient interactions through services and resources tailored to diverse populations. The training will include both face-to-face and online learning. Clark College Corporate and Continuing Education will also create a stand-alone interactive eBook that staff can use in reference.

The interactive training includes custom videos created by Clark College Corporate & Continuing Education. Employees from Clark College and Southwest Washington Medical Center worked with students, Partners in Careers, Washington School for the Deaf and other community members to represent 19 distinct cultures in video scenarios to aid learning.

“Good communication with your nurse, doctor or other health care provider is one of the keys to making sure you’re getting the best health care possible, said Mark Gaither, eLearning Instructional Designer for Clark College Corporate & Continuing Education.  “Through this project, we’re assisting care providers to see the person behind the illness.”

“Our vision at Southwest Washington Medical Center is to provide exceptional medicine and extraordinary care for every person,” states Cheryl Snodgrass, RN, MN, Clinical Educator. “The Clinical Education Department is excited to partner with Clark College Corporate & Continuing Education in this grant project. In order to promote patient safety and reduce health care disparities, we need to understand how our own cultural awareness and identity influences how we care for and communicate with our patients and their families.”

The project is funded through a Workforce Investment Act grant administered by the Southwest Washington Workforce Development Council. Since 2006, Clark College Corporate and Continuing Education department has generated more than $3.5 million in grant funding for training. More than $200,000 of that amount supported eLearning services in the last two years alone.

Clark College Corporate & Continuing Education is the region's premier provider of classes, seminars, certificate programs and training opportunities, serving the residents and businesses of Southwest Washington. The department is dedicated to providing a variety of lifelong learning, personal enrichment and professional development training for individuals reentering the job world, moving up the corporate ladder or simply interested in acquiring a new skill. 

Clark College is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Institution.


EDITOR’S NOTE:  For additional information, please contact Tara Cox, Marketing and Communications Manager, Clark College Corporate & Continuing Education, at 360-992-2925 or