As they have done every year for the past 11 years, future providers across health care disciplines dedicated a day to improving their ability to provide health care to all patients – especially those with perhaps different backgrounds and experiences than their own.
At the 2016 Culturally Effective Care Symposium, nearly 550 students learned about working with colleagues from different disciplines to improve health equity for patients and populations and participated in discussions on LGBT health and barriers to health care issues faced by immigrants and refugees. The day-long event, “Health Equity through Interprofessional Practice,” was coordinated by the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
Previously known as Cultural Competency Day, the event was renamed this year to more accurately reflect its mission.
“Through one-day events no one becomes ‘fully competent’ about any culture, including their own, so the name did not reflect the true purpose of the program,” said Ryan Simpson, assistant director of the UofL HSC Office of Diversity and Inclusion. “In these symposiums we are trying to provide participants foundational experiences in culturally effective care to equip future health professionals in achieving optimal patient care. Our planning committee renamed it the ‘Culturally Effective Care Symposium’ to better represent what we are there to achieve.”
Students from all four UofL Health Sciences Center schools, as well as the Sullivan University College of Pharmacy and the UofL Kent School of Social Work participated in the symposium, held at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage in Louisville. Participants included students and residents in nursing, dentistry, dental hygiene, speech pathology, pharmacy, social work, public health and medicine.
UofL’s Patricia Allen Cultural Competency Day was first held in 2006, the result of efforts by V. Faye Jones, MD, PhD, assistant vice president for health affairs – diversity initiatives, and Patricia Allen, administrative associate for the Area Health Education Center program office at UofL, to improve cultural understanding of UofL Health Sciences Center students. The event is named for Allen, who helped lay the groundwork and planning for the event.