Volunteers of many faiths minister to our multicultural patients

Employee News & Views Editor: August 20, 20130 Comments

Hospitals are a microcosm of the larger community they are located in. The Greater Fresno Area is rich in multicultural groups with unique health care needs, but also with cultural needs that influence how their health care needs should be met. Three of these cultural determinants of how healthcare should be provided are the language spoke by the patient, religious practices and beliefs, and cultural customs.

Community Regional’s Chaplain Services is proactively addressing these cultural determinants by having on its’ team of chaplains individuals who together speak several languages and represent several ethnic backgrounds. Several religions are also represented within Community Regional’s spiritual care department.

In terms of languages, these are the languages currently spoken by different members of the chaplain’s department: English, Spanish, Arabic, Farsi, Japanese, Vietnamese, and soon we will add Taiwanese, Mandarin and Korean.  We also have cultural diversity in our ethnic makeup having chaplains who are Latino, Anglo American, Egyptian American, Vietnamese, Lebanese, African American, Japanese, and soon Taiwanese.

In terms of religions, under the Christian umbrella we have Protestants and Catholics, and we also have Muslims, and Buddhists. We have contacts with Hmong traditional Shaman. Our Chaplains are dedicated to providing spiritual support to all our patients without imposing our own belief systems or proselytizing. 

The Chaplains of Community Regional understand the vital role played by a person’s culture and religion. We attempt to assess for and accommodate for these cultural requirements in order to facilitate the best healthcare via clear and culturally competent communication.

I wish to introduce three of our valued chaplains that symbolize our commitment to providing culturally competent spiritual care.

First, Dr. Fawzi El-Sayed, is a Muslim born and raised in Egypt. He graduated from the University of Cairo with a doctorate in veterinary medicine.  He did some further post graduate studies in Arizona. He is an active member of the Muslim community in the Fresno area. He worships at the Masjid of Fresno and at the Islamic Cultural Center of Fresno. Dr. El-Sayed says his religion calls him to sit with and be a comfort to the sick.

Secondly, we have Ngoc Hong Le who is a Buddhist and was born and raised in Vietnam. She currently works for Community Regional as a pharmacist. Hong attends the Chua Tam Boa Buddhist Temple in Fresno. She says she feels blessed to be able to minister to visitors and patients in the hospital.

Thirdly, we have Margarita Holguin who is a Christian and works as a Unit Clerk in the emergency department at Community Regional. She has been a wonderful volunteer chaplain since the days of University Medical Center. Although she is a single mother of a couple of teenagers and has a full time job, she still finds time after work to make supportive visits to patients. She attends a local church.

All our chaplains are wonderful individuals who give all that they can in service to our patients at Community Regional. We are blessed to have such a cross culturally competent group of chaplains at Community Regional who can address the cultural and spiritual needs of our patients.


by Rev. Grimaldo Enriquez, Community Regional Medical Center

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