SOURCE: HealthEast Care System

February 13, 2009 03:04 ET

HealthEast Care System Names Elizabeth Walker Anderson System Director, Cross Cultural Services

ST. PAUL, MN--(Marketwire - February 13, 2009) - HealthEast Care System announced today that Elizabeth Walker Anderson will become its system director for cross cultural services. The change becomes effective February 23.

Anderson will primarily focus on helping HealthEast be an advocate for change in an area with constantly emerging challenges. She will oversee a wide range of responsibilities related to organizational diversity and culturally responsive care, including managing the Cross Cultural Care department. These areas, which are directly tied to the organization's quality journey, include improving patient access to care, expanding language services, developing community partnerships, and piloting innovative programs that bolster clinical outcomes. She will also collaborate with the organization's Human Resources department to strengthen its abilities to deliver compassionate care in a way that mirrors its community's needs.

Anderson has spent the past 25 years helping individuals from a variety of backgrounds begin life anew. Her first cross cultural assignment was directing refugee camp operations for Indochinese refugees in Thailand applying for resettlement in the United States; she helped approximately 4,000 individuals each month make this life-changing transition. She then served as a political asylum officer for the Justice Department and Immigration and Naturalization Service, interviewing applicants from 25 countries who were seeking refuge in America.

At Regions Hospital, Anderson directed the international services department. She secured numerous grants from local foundations for cross cultural health care education and programming and built strong community partnerships with patients and providers. While at the Minnesota State Department of Human Services, she concentrated her planning and strategic talents on ensuring the best possible use of scarce resources for refugee and immigrant services.

Anderson also brings compliance and regulatory knowledge, as well as community relations expertise, to her new role. She managed codes of conduct and best practices at U.S. Bancorp and launched programs at Thrivent Financial that addressed the connection between financial wellness and personal wellness in diverse communities.

Craig Svendsen, MD, Chief Medical Quality Officer for HealthEast, says that "Anderson's personal and professional experiences are a testament to two key principles: 1) the ability to truly understand and respond meaningfully to diversity opportunities extends beyond color, language, religion and other markers people typically use to define diverse populations and 2) all of our backgrounds reflect some type of diversity. We're excited to have this kind of 'out of the box thinker' who can get things done join HealthEast."

Anderson, a self-described "third culture kid," was born and raised (until the age of 12) in Thailand. She relocated to the United States in her teens. In both cases, she understood what it meant to feel excluded, either because you did not look like or sound like the majority, or because you lacked a shared history or world perspective. Anderson knew that her life's work would be dedicated to creating welcoming, healing and culturally responsive environments and to helping people who were on the outside looking in.

Anderson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in business and criminal justice from Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota; a certificate in multiculturalism and diversity from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a mini MBA in Health Care Administration from the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota. In 2004, she earned her juris doctor (JD) from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Anderson is a contributing author to two books that explore multiculturalism and diversity entitled, "Healing Heart" and "My Heart it is Delicious."

HealthEast Care System is a community-focused, non-profit health care organization that provides innovative technology, compassionate care and a full spectrum of family health services. HealthEast includes Bethesda Hospital, St. John's Hospital, St. Joseph's Hospital and Woodwinds Health Campus as well as outpatient services, clinics, home care, pharmacies and medical transportation services.

Practicing financial responsibility, HealthEast is the largest locally-owned health care organization in the Twin Cities' East Metro with 7,300 employees, 1,200 volunteers and 1,400 physicians on staff.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Lynn Sadoff
    Senior Public Relations Specialist
    HealthEast Care System
    651-326-3590 (office)
    612-723-8991 (cell)
    651-864-1023 (pager)
    Email address: Email Contact