Patient, Health Plan Member,
and Customer Experience

Ensure Culturally Competent Care, Member,
and Residential Services

We are focused on ensuring that our patients, health plan members, and
customers have access to quality, culturally appropriate health care,
and information that encourages healthy lifestyles.


​Cultural Competency Module Completion Cultural Competency Index**​
​2013: 92.30% ​2012: 83.6%
​2014: 95.43% ​2014: 82.8%

*See the CFEI Annual Report for more details.
**Conducted every other year

We are preparing our workforce to inclusively address the diverse needs of patients, families, and communities, and we are committed to delivering a quality, culturally appropriate health care experience. Being culturally aware enhances our customer, patient, and member experience; allows employees and patients to feel valued and respected; considers the perspectives of others; and reminds us to treat others the way they want to be treated.

The UPMC Cultural Awareness Initiative provides tools and resources that enable our employees to deliver treatment and services that value dignity and respect. The tools and resources respond to the health, beliefs, and practices, and the cultural and linguistic needs of our diverse patients, employees, and health plan members in the communities we serve. This initiative ensures our ability to provide health care for all communities, including minorities, refugees, immigrants, the LGBT community, and people with disabilities (in partnership with the Disability Resource Center).

Patient and Health Plan Member Initiative

The C.H.R.I.S. Model

The C.H.R.I.S. model is designed to help employees visualize the diverse attributes that make up the unique identity of every individual, and serves as a reminder to treat others the way they want to be treated.

It represents UPMC’s

Commitment to cultural competency and
Health literacy for our patients, members and their families while improving
Retention of diverse employees by
Integrating UPMC Values into
System-wide practices. 


C.H.R.I.S. Learning Series

New this year, the learning series fosters the professional and personal development of UPMC employees via articles, case studies, webinars, lunch-and-learns, live subject-matter expert presentations, and an annual conference. Our focus is to ensure culturally appropriate health care.

C.H.R.I.S. Hotline

Supported by the Center for Quality, Safety, and Innovation, Patient Experience Communications, and the UPMC Patient Relations, Health Services Division’s Call Center, the hotline enables UPMC employees to call one number for support and services to meet the cultural needs of patients in their business units. It ensures a more consistent and effective patient experience offering access to interpreter and translation services, chaplain services, and other services needed for quality patient care.

C.H.R.I.S. Community Health Initiative

This initiative is designed to increase the understanding and practice of cultural competency, as well as improve health literacy. By enhancing collaboration and providing assistance, we help UPMC executives, managers, and employees—and the communities we serve—understand and address policies and practices that UPMC can implement to affect services and outcomes. Among the partnership’s goals are:

  • To increase organizational understanding of national best practices in cultural competency and to meet the needs of the populations we serve.
  • To increase awareness of cultural competency’s effects on health care access, delivery of services, health literacy, and outcomes for individuals, especially the underserved.
  • To engage other agencies, organizations, and communities in our region in supporting our efforts to provide equal health care access for all.
  • To focus on LGBT, interfaith communities, and newcomers to the U.S. Healthcare system.


CultureVision®, an online web-based tool, discusses the needs of various cultures in the health care setting. Available on the Infonet and embedded in patient systems, Cerner’s PowerChart® provides just-in-time access to help employees better understand the diverse needs of patients and their families, health plan members, and colleagues.

Online Portal

With support from the Center for Quality, Safety, and Innovation, Patient Experience Communications, and the Beckwith Institute, the UPMC Center for Engagement and Inclusion, the Disabilities Resource Center, and the Technology Development Center are collaborating on the development of an online portal that will improve the care experience by inviting patients to proactively share their values, preferences, and needs with their providers. The technology that makes it possible will align electronic health records, web portals, and individual needs to promote more consistent sharing of information, improve treatment plans, and expand our clinicians’ understanding. Community focus groups and internal e-record collaborations will help ensure that the voices of our patients are heard, so that they can receive the right care in the right way at the right time—every time.

Safe Zone

The Center for Engagement and Inclusion, in partnership with PERSAD, has launched the Safe Zone initiative to address health disparities. The Safe Zone initiative offers UPMC providers the necessary tools and resources to create an environment that is welcoming and caring for the LGBTQ community.

The program is implemented in 3 stages:

  1. Pre-assessment
  2. Assessment*
  3. Implementation: Training and resources

Participating hospitals include UPMC Shadyside, Presbyterian, and Mercy.

*The assessment is conducted by PERSAD and includes the following service lines/groups: frontline staff, clinicians, unit directors, clinical directors, and environmental services.

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