UofL School of Medicine
UofL School of Medicine

Among the most important issues facing health care are social barriers to care. To ensure future health professionals are equipped with the understanding to reduce health inequities, the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center Office of Diversity and Inclusion will hold its 10th annual Patricia Allen Cultural Competency Day on November 10. Nearly 700 students will participate in “Health Equity through Interprofessional Practice,” a day-long workshop that includes discussions on Poverty and Accessing Health Care, LGBT Health, Immigrant and Refugee Populations and Cultural Barriers in Health Care.

Students from UofL Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, Public Health and Kent School of Social Work, as well as the Sullivan University School of Pharmacy and nurses with Passport Health Plan will take part in the program, to be held at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage (KCAAH).

Vivian Lasley-Bibbs, the acting director for the Office of Health Equity in the Kentucky Department for Public Health, will open the event with a keynote address on the increasing racial, ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity in the American population and the need for health-care practitioners to understand the socio-cultural background of their patients in order to deliver high quality health care.

“This is the 10th year for this conference reflecting the Health Sciences Center’s commitment to health equity for all. In addition to this important milestone, the program has expanded to include almost 700 students from multiple health disciplines,” said V. Faye Jones, MD, PhD, assistant vice president for health affairs – diversity initiatives. “We all have a role in achieving health equity, and this year’s program allows students to learn with and from each other in the community setting of the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage.”

Attendees will be assigned to interprofessional teams that rotate together among 75-minute breakout sessions covering each topic. This format, which differs from previous years, will ensure that all attendees are exposed to each topic and will accommodate the large number of participants. The interprofessional teams, which mix students and residents from dentistry, speech pathology, pharmacy, social work, public health and medicine, allow the students to experience the topics from the unique perspectives of each field.

UofL’s Cultural Competency Day was first held in 2006, the result of efforts by Jones and Patricia Allen, administrative associate for the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) program office at UofL, to improve cultural understanding of UofL Health Sciences Center students. Approximately 150 students attended the event its first year. The event is named for Allen, who helped lay the groundwork and planning for the event.

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Betty Coffman
Betty Coffman is a Health Communications Specialist, working on the Health Sciences Campus with departments in the School of Medicine. A UofL alumna and Louisville native, she served as a writer and editor for local and national publications and as an account services coordinator and copywriter for marketing and design firms prior to joining UofL’s Office of Marketing and Communications.