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Volunteers In Medicine Receives $20,000 To Fund Cultural Competency Program For Volunteers

July 14, 2015

Bend, Ore. – July 9, 2015 Volunteers in Medicine Clinic of the Cascades (VIM) is happy to announce the recent award of two grants; $10,000 from the Robert W. Chandler Discretionary Subfund of the Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) and $10,000 from the Robert W. Chandler II Fund of the Oregon Community Foundation. These gifts will sponsor education programs for volunteers to help improve their cultural understanding of the medical care and outcomes for the growing number of Latino patients who qualify for care at VIM.

“OCF is proud to support VIM in their work to increase cultural understanding of medical professionals who volunteer their services,” shared Kathleen Cornett, Vice President of Grants and Programs. “These efforts will greatly reduce barriers for the growing number of Latino patients and will improve medical care and outcomes.”

Access to health insurance can be an obstacle for members of any immigrant community. Without insurance, individuals often seek care only when health issues arise, which fuels high rates of chronic disease. When a person has access to consistent medical care, diabetes, obesity, hypertension and many other diseases can be controlled and often completely prevented.

“We want all VIM patients to receive the same high quality of care. That takes skill that goes beyond a deep understanding of medicine,” said Kat Mastrangelo, Executive Director of VIM. “We also need to understand what people value and the different ways they process information. By elevating our understanding of the Latino culture, we are able to be more effective listeners and communicators, always with the end goal of improving health. This is why VIM’s cultural competency training program for volunteers is so important.”

VIM’s mission is to bridge the gap between the medically insured and the uninsured. The clinic provides healthcare on a donation basis to uninsured, low-income adults age 18 and up that are not eligible for, or able to access, medical care through Affordable Care Act programs. The model works because all care is provided by the big-hearted efforts of over 300 medical and non-medical volunteers who are supported by hundreds of generous donors and more than 400 community medical partners with offices located throughout Central Oregon.

“Our goal is to keep people healthy so that they can work, take care of their families, and contribute to our community,” stated Mastrangelo. “By broadening our understanding of the different cultures that exist in our community, we become more effective in our work. We also become more compassionate individuals, and that’s good for everyone.”

About Volunteers in Medicine

Since 2004, Volunteers in Medicine has been providing healthcare services to low-income adults in Central Oregon by utilizing the collaborative efforts of more than 300 clinic volunteers and more than 400 community medical partners. VIM is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that is 100% supported by private foundations, business and individual gifts,

and in-kind contributions of professional services and supplies. New patients and those in need of assistance enrolling in Affordable Care Act programs are welcome. For more information call 541-330-9001 or visit