Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Helen Dao Attends Prevent Blindness Tri-State's Eye Safety Awards

Last Wednesday, DAO Consulting CEO Helen Dao attended the Prevent Blindness Tri-State (PBTS) Eye Safety Awards.  On behalf of PBTS, Dao presented awards to companies demonstrating excellent eye safety strategies.

On behalf of PBTS President/CEO Kathryn Garre-Ayers, Helen Dao presents an award to Alpine Painting and Sandblasting Contractors
Helen Dao, on behalf of PBTS President/CEO Kathryn Garre-Ayers, recognizes Covanta Union, Inc.
Helen Dao and Summit Drilling, Co. Inc. 
Helen Dao, on behalf of PBTS President/CEO Kathryn Garre-Ayers, recognizes DCS/Sterycles' efforts on eye safety

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

CLAS Standard #2

Standard 2: Health care organizations should implement strategies to recruit, retain and promote at all levels of the organization a diverse staff and leadership that are representative of the demographic characteristics of the service area.

“A diverse staff and leadership” is key to establishing culturally competent and linguistically appropriate health care.  Although a bilingual and bicultural staff does not guarantee cultural sensitivity, it does elevate awareness of the needs and customs of the community.  Diversity is not simply a quota or statistic; it is a philosophy running through the organization (from its support staff, to clinical professionals, to administrative members).

Advantages of a bilingual and bicultural staff include, but are not limited to:

1.     Effective Communication: A bilingual staff can effectively communicate with patients, serving as the medium between patients and other health care professionals. Effective communication includes both verbal and nonverbal language; a well-trained bilingual staff can identify the different communication approaches.
2.     Community Awareness: A bicultural staff is prone to cultural sensitivity and able to identify the needs of a community.  Recognizing the cultural nuances in a community, a bicultural staff may serve as the bridge between the community and health care providers.
3.     Patient Comfort:  Trust is key to health care relationships.  A staff that understands patients’ cultural needs, linguistics, and cultural differences is crucial for establishing a comfortable environment.  
4.     Cultural Brokering: a bilingual and bicultural staff can serve as a mediator or go-to person in helping health care providers identify issues, brainstorm tactics, and provide services to the community in a culturally and linguistically appropriate manner.

It is important to integrate cultural and linguistic diversity throughout the organizational structure of an organization.  For example, if diversity is only concentrated towards the lower levels of an organization, then culturally sensitive initiatives will remain stale.  Diversity must resonate throughout the organization.  On the administrative level, cultural competence results in strategic planning and policy making that benefits the community.  Cultural competence must be part of the organization’s mission, vision, and core values in order to engage staff, volunteers, and community members.

Achieving a diverse staff may seem daunting at first.  These four strategies may help you:
1.     Recruitment: Collaborate with educational institutes and community programs.  Form internships, fellowships, and residencies with schools, seeking out students who are interested in health careers or interacting with diverse communities.
2.     Create Your Own Staff:  Implement programs in the community that train members to act as interpreters, cultural ambassadors.  Then, encourage these members to pursue training in the health profession or other valuable community fields.
3.     Train Your Staff: Developing and implementing training programs will make your staff feel empowered, up-to-date, and informed about the community.  Continuous training also helps staff members embrace their cultural competence, education, and skills (which can promote leadership and accountability).  A staff may feel pressured to fulfill a company’s expectations; therefore, create programs that will encourage staff members to truly want to further their cultural competence. 
4.     Retention: Because diversity is key to an organization’s successful, it is important to retain bilingual and bicultural members.  Employees may feel overwhelmed from excessive requests to serve as interpreter.  Therefore, it is crucial to hire enough culturally diverse staff members and oversee assignments. 

Health care organizations are faced with the positive challenge of changing their practice and image based on their stakeholders needs such as cultural and ethnic diversity.  Organizations that are up to this challenge and take pro-active steps toward improving cultural competence will further cement their business’s success.  Cultural competence is not an “If” service anymore; it is part of our health care system’s fabric. Health care organizations have the opportunity to increase quality of care, eliminate health care disparities, and create a new generation of culturally competent health care providers.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Helen Dao shares her business strategies in Deborah A. Bailey’s new book, "Think Like An Entrepreneur: What You Need to Consider Before You Write A Business Plan"

In a recent interview with author Deborah A. Bailey, DAO Consulting CEO Helen Dao shared her entrepreneur strategies and experiences as a business owner.  Paving the way for budding entrepreneurs, the interview covers Dao’s visions in public health, challenges establishing DAO Consulting, and advice on starting a new business.  Among many points, Dao emphasized “know your industry very well, ask for help, and have clear goals to where you want to be and how you are planning to get there.” 

The full interview is available in Deborah A. Bailey’s new book, Think Like An Entrepreneur: What You Need to Consider Before You Write A Business Plan.  Bailey’s book includes interviews from other successful entrepreneurs, advice to “survive and thrive” in challenging markets, and motivational tips. 

Think Like An Entrepreneur: What You Need to Consider Before You Write A Business Plan is available for purchase at

You can also listen to Helen Dao's interview and follow-up interview at