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By Bárbara Cruz
Patient Advisor, Patient and Family Advisory Council

Ask any teachers you know about the diversity that makes up their classrooms and they will tell you that our schools are more diverse than ever. In my professional life, I am a teacher educator. I continually remind my students (future and current teachers) about the importance of being culturally responsive. Simply put, to be an effective teacher, one must take into consideration the unique backgrounds and needs of everyone in the classroom. Health care is no different.

As a patient at Moffitt for more than five years now, I have come across health care providers who embrace diversity in all its forms. Each of my physicians and nurses knows my cultural background and how it impacts my life and worldview. I will never forget one Moffitt surgeon who, at our first meeting, asked me, "What gives you joy in life? And how can I assist you in making that happen?" I replied that being with my family, traveling abroad, and teaching was at the very top of my list. He then proceeded to discuss my case and his ideas for eradicating the cancer and allowing me to do what I loved most. He fully embraced what it means to offer patient-patient-centered, culturally sensitive health care.

At every visit to Moffitt, I witness individuals and families from all walks of life. Some require language assistance while others need additional financial support. Some, who come from afar, miss home and loved ones. At each turn, Moffitt has a program or office to assist.

Now, I am giving back by serving on Moffitt’s Patient and Family Advisory Council (PFAC). We come together monthly to provide feedback on patient services and programs. There are additional opportunities for special projects, too. For example, with my background in education and my native Spanish skills, I help to ensure that brochures and other printed materials make sense to a wide audience. I invite the Moffitt community to join us in our volunteer efforts.

Moffitt offers flexible options for joining the Patient and Family Advisory Council, including attending meetings virtually. To learn more, please email or call 813-745-2963. Together we can continue to support Moffitt in being a welcoming place for all.