RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif.—VSP Vision, an eye health company with a focus on delivering access to health-centric vision care, and HUED, a learning and development company that creates equitable and inclusive health care content, have announced a partnership to offer cultural competency and humility training at no cost for VSP network doctors. Optometrists who complete the training will receive a continuing education credit (CE), council on optometric practitioner education (COPE) accreditation, and placement on the HUED Directory of Increased Visibility as a culturally competent and humbled provider.

“Cultural competency and cultural humility set the stage for inclusive patient communication and improved treatment in health care settings—especially for marginalized communities,” said VSP Vision chief diversity officer Marvin Davenport. “Offering best-in-class cultural competency and humility training from HUED has the potential to both strengthen and differentiate providers in the VSP network and improve member and patient experiences.”

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, cultural competency training improves health care professionals’ knowledge, understanding, and skills for treating patients from culturally and socio-economically diverse backgrounds. In fact, improving cultural competence has been proven to help reduce health disparities and achieve patient satisfaction. In addition, many states are beginning to make this training mandatory for health professionals.

“At HUED, our mission is to advance health equity and improve overall patient outcomes for Black, Latinx, and Indigenous people. We are doing that by educating health care professionals on how to better care for communities that have been typically overlooked and underserved,” said HUED CEO Kimberly Wilson. “We’re thrilled to work with VSP Vision to offer our customized and elevated training to their network of doctors who are among the first optometrists to be featured in our practitioner directory, making it more accessible for our patient community to find culturally informed and inclusive providers.”

In 2023, the VSP Vision Global Innovation Center partnered with HUED to offer HUED’s customized training to a select optometrist audience, the company noted. While VSP Vision requires all network doctors to complete annual training in accordance with state and federal guidelines, this partnership tapped into a new educational platform to unlock additional certifications, offer an even deeper understanding of cultural competency, and provide new ways to further differentiate participating practices, according to the company.

Of the 1,000 providers who participated in the initial limited offering, 98 percent said they gained valuable insights on how to better interact with patients, and there was a 99 percent increase in providers who said they can now "implement and articulate" the strategies needed to help close the health equity gap, according to the announcement. Based on the feedback from providers in the pilot, the customized HUED training is now being rolled out network wide.

“This unique training is customized specifically for optometry and allows us to deliver even more opportunities for providers to learn and strengthen patient care to better serve our VSP Vision Care clients and members,” said VSP Vision vice president of clinical and medical affairs Valerie Sheety-Pilon, OD. “The feedback we received from our network doctors who participated in the initial course was overwhelmingly positive and we’re proud to roll this out network wide.”