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Map in Grass


Cultural Communication

Instructor: Hedi Aguiar RN, BA(Hons), MSN

As a TCK (Third Culture Kid), Hedi is passionate about helping professionals improve upon their cross- and intercultural communication. As Hedi always says, "every conversation is a cross- or intercultural conversation, it does not matter whether you are speaking to your boss, your colleague, your spouse, or your child."

Deep-seated misunderstandings of the definition of culture, the relationship between culture and communication, and its impact on our daily communication and interactions professionally and personally, can result in devastating and poor outcomes, both in relationships and in work outcomes.

We provide the framework for understanding terms and equip the learner with tools and practical considerations on how to overcome cultural barriers, practice cultural humility, and improve cross- and intercultural communication. 


About Hedi

Hedi grew-up as a TCK and has had various international experiences. Having lived on four different continents and in seven different countries, she is quadrilingual and from a young age, cultural humility and integration was an expectation and a need to be able to adjust and adapt quickly to her ever-changing environment.


While people always marveled at Hedi's upbringing and international experiences, Hedi did not consider it anything unusual, after all, she knew many other TCKs who had very similar stories and it was "just the way it was." When Hedi was working on her Masters degree to become a Clinical Nurse Specialist, her professors pointed out that her life-experiences could bring much value to the healthcare community for whom cross-cultural communication and cultural competence was and continues to be a hot topic.

When Hedi learned that she could use her background to help the broader healthcare community, she decided to focus her final Master's project on cross-cultural communication. At the time, Hedi was working for an Organ Procurement Organization and thus, her primary focus was on how to help healthcare professionals communicate more effectively with and support families of varying cultures during end-of-life care.

Hedi's approach to teaching cross- and intercultural communication is to help participants learn the meaning of various cultural terms, explain basic principles observed across cultures, and describe practical tools to employ to become a student of the person in the moment.


Hedi conducted a one-day Cross-Cultural Communication workshop for nearly 50 of our team members that directly work with our customers. Hedi was well received by our team. Her style allows participants to connect with her and feel valued for their experiences that they bring. Examples of comments on the evaluations included "Hedi was amazing! This was one of the best cross-cultural communication trainings I've been a part of" and "Hedi was very knowledgeable in this subject matter with great examples of personal connection with many different cultures and experiences." This workshop is well organized and includes a strong purpose statement and learning objectives. The course is interactive and the material is compilation of theory, research, personal experiences, and case studies that allows every learner to connect with Hedi and the content. I can't say enough good things about Hedi and her consulting!

—  Meghan Stephenson, Iowa Donor Network, IA

Previous Workshops & Presentations

AFDT - 14th Annual Living Donation Conference, CA - Presentation - 2023: Culture, Intelligence, and Communication

National Kidney Foundation - 23rd Annual Southwest Nephrology Conference, AZ - Presentation 

2023: Bridging Cultural Gaps to Improve Communication & Interactions with Others

Mid-South Transplant Foundation - Staff workshop - 2023: Bridging Cultural Communication

Ochsner Medical Center Transplant Department - Staff workshop - 2022: Bridging Cultural Communication

Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center, NJ - 2nd Annual Shamkant Mulgaonkar, MD, Patient Safety & Quality Lecture

2022: Bridging Cultural Communication

Cooperman Barnabas Medical Center, NJ - Renal Transplant Preceptorship Symposium Keynote Presentation

2022: Developing Cultural Intelligence

Life Center Organ Donor Recovery Network, OH - Staff workshop - 2022: Bridging Cultural Communication

Legacy of Hope, AL - Staff workshop - 2022: Bridging Cultural Communication

AFDT - 13th Annual Living Donation Conference, FL - Presentation - 2022: Cultural Humility

LiveOnNY, NY - Staff workshop - 2022: Bridging Cultural Communication part 1 & part 2 

Gift of Hope, IL - Virtual staff workshop - 2021: Bridging Cultural Communication  

Iowa Donor Network, IA - Virtual The Ripple Effect A Donate Life Conference Keynote presentation - 

2021: Bridging Cultural Communication  

Southwest Transplant Alliance, TX - Staff workshop - 2021: Bridging Cultural Communication  

AFDT - 12th Annual Living Donation Conference - Virtual  Conference Presentation

2021: Bridging Cultural Communication Through Cultural Humility  

Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency, LA - Staff workshop - 2021: Bridging Cultural Communication  

LifeGift, TX - Staff workshop - 2020: Focused on Being Extraordinary: Bridging Cultural Communication  

Southwest Transplant Alliance, TX - Staff workshop - 2020: Bridging Cultural Communication  

Life Center Organ Donor Recovery Network, OH - Staff workshop - 2019: Bridging Cultural Communication  

LifeSource, MN - Sparks Donation & Transplantation Symposium presentation - 2019 : Bridging Cultural Communication

Iowa Donor Network - All Staff Workshop - 2017: Cross-Cultural Communication Skills - We should be talking about this

Louisiana Organ Procurement Agency - Staff workshop - 2015: Cross-cultural communication workshop

St. Vincent Medical Center, CA - Transplant Grandrounds -

2015: Understanding cross-cultural communication differences and how to communicate effectively

LifeSource, MN - Staff Workshop - 2015: Cross-cultural communication workshop

Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital, CA - Grandrounds - 2014: Cross-cultural communication in end-of-life care and the donation decision.

Totally Trauma Conference, CA - Plenary Presentation - 2013: Cross-cultural communication in end-of-life and the donation decision.

5th Annual Organ Donation Collaborative, VA - 2013: No two heroes are alike: Developing cross-cultural communication skills

AOPO Annual Meeting, IN - Breakout Session - 2013: We all have hearts: Cross-cultural communication to reach common ground

Cultural Diversity Symposium, CA - Presentation - 2012: Laying foundations for cross-cultural communication

UCSF Transplant Symposium, CA - Breakout Session - 2012: Multi-cultural considerations in donation & transplantation

National Learning Congress, TX - Breakout Session - 2012: Developing organ procurement staff cross-cultural communication skills

Midwest Transplant Network, MO - Staff Training Day - 2012: Cross-cultural communication skills: we should be talking about this

DSA Action & Regional Strategy Meeting, AZ - Plenary Session 

- 2012: Foundations & framework for culturally sensitive end-of-life care

AOPO TriCouncil Meeting, FL - HD Council Session - 2012: Cross-cultural communication skills for OPO staff

Organ Donation Symposium, CA - 2011: Cultural considerations in end-of-life care and the donation decision. (co-presentation)

HRSA WPFL Learning Series - Webinar - 2012: Supporting multicultural professional and public education efforts (co-presentation)

DTCP Support & Advocacy Webinar - 2012: Laying the foundations and framework for culturally sensitive end-of-life care

LifeNet Health, VA - Staff webinar training - 2011: Multicultural considerations in Hospital Services

Donation Symposium, CA - Panel presentation - 2011: Cultural considerations in end-of-life care and the donation decision

ISODP / TTS, Argentina - Oral Abstract Presentation - 2011: Multicultural considerations in Hospital Services

NATCO Annual Meeting, CA - Breakout Session - 2011: Multicultural opportunities in Hospital Development

AOPO Annual Meeting, CO - HD Council Session - 2011: Multicultural opportunities for success in Hospital Services

Kaiser Permanente National Transplant Coordinator Annual Symposium, CA

2010: Multicultural opportunities for success in transplant services

ASMHTP Annual Meeting, NV - Plenary Session - 2009: Multicultural opportunities for success in Hospital Services

AOPO Annual Meeting, AZ - HD Council Session - 2008: Multicultural opportunities for success in Hospital Services - (co-presentation)

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