Produced by Sorrell Fowler


Fire station crews are usually the first one on the scene when a call for help is made. And station six in Sacramento's Oak Park is one of the busiest in the nation, receiving nearly 14,000 calls a year. And it's in the heart of what Time magazine has named the most diverse city in America - a prime example of a true melting pot for the Central Valley. It's no wonder the calls often have crews working with a diverse population.

So the ability to understand and interact with diverse groups is vital. And for that, the Sacramento City Fire Department enlisted the help of local diversity specialist Dr. Kevin Christophe, president and founder of Sacramento-based Progress counseling. He says better customer service is crucial for an agency like the fire department, whose business is saving lives.

Kevin uses role-playing and storytelling to help firefighters see situations through the eyes of the people they serve. According to the Deputy Chief, feedback on the training has been positive overall, but some crew members had to be convinced in the beginning.

Kevin is aware of the bad rap diversity training has received in the past…but according to Kevin, the risks associated with not having training can be much worse.

Like the Fire Department, CARES is an organization where knowing how to reach our diverse community can be a matter of life or death. Housed in this non-descript building in downtown Sacramento is a healthcare clinic, a pharmacy, and social services for people suffering from HIV and AIDS. Kevin's diversity training has helped them reach out to a diverse array of groups and cultures.

And as new cultures continue to make Sacramento their home, research on how to reach those groups is underway and that will make the community a safer place. Better communication makes saving lives a little easier, and with communities across the Valley becoming more and more integrated, the demand for diversity training is sure to rise.


Kevin Christophe, Ph.D.
President, Progress Consulting

Deputy Chief Richard McKinney
Sacramento City Fire Department

Azziza Davis-Goins



The complete text of New Valley Episode 206: Divided We Stand...


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