Beyond Cultural Competency: Promoting Health Equity and Inclusive Clinical Communication
Presenters: Bart Laws, PhD & Charlene Pope, PhD, MPH, CNM, BSN
Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 3:00pm ET
Webinar Description: “Cultural competency” in health care has sometimes been conceived of as knowledge of the common health beliefs, customs and etiquette of patients who come from cultural settings that are exotic to the provider. Cultural competency training in the past often consisted of medical anthropological presentations about “folk illnesses” and traditional systems of healing. More recently, it has been generally acknowledged that these approaches can promote stereotyping rather than understanding, and the emphasis has been on skills to promote mutual learning about health beliefs and practices. This too narrow conception does not address how the provision of appropriate care to diverse patient populations requires understanding of the complexity of health disparities, social determinants of health, and socio-cultural influences on health behaviors and beliefs as well as the delivery of health services. In a sense, all clinical encounters are cross-cultural because of the gulf between the physician’s conception of disease and treatment and the patient’s experience of illness and healing. Additionally, cultural competency approaches may not address the racial, ethnic or linguistic discrimination patients experience in health institutions or the unconscious bias, stereotypes or prejudice providers may not realize that they have. Our objectives for this webinar are to Illustrate the boundaries socio-cultural positioning sets on communication; identify implicit bias embedded in patient-provider communication; challenge assumptions about non-shared life worlds, interpersonal interactions, and habituated behaviors; and help participants reflect on their norms and habits for provider-patient communication, how they may limit the effectiveness of the therapeutic relationship with diverse patients, and the need for social justice advocacy to promote health equity.
About the Presenters:
Bart Laws, PhD
has studied the patient experience of illness and health care for more than 20 years, for most of that time as Research Director for a community based AIDS Service Organization and adjunct faculty member at Tufts University School of Medicine, until entering academia full time in 2009. His degree from the Heller School at Brandeis is interdisciplinary, but his work emphasized sociology and was particularly influenced by studies under the late Irving Kenneth Zola, a pioneer in the sociology of chronic illness and disability. As evaluator of numerous federally funded mental health and substance abuse treatment programs, clinical case management, and other services for people with HIV, he became immersed in the consumer’s experience and developed a commitment to clinical research based in the patient’s perspective. In his scholarly research, he has focused particularly on provider-patient communication, including the construction and measurement of patient-centeredness and patient agency in medical encounters, and factors related to effective clinical communication. The long-term goal of his research is to support the continuing transformation of medicine and health care more broadly into an institution built around patients’ needs – physical, psychological, and social; which meets those needs effectively; and in which patients have ultimate agency and authority.
Charlene Pope, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN
serves as the Chief Nurse for Research at the Ralph J core faculty in the VA Health Equity and Rural Outreach Center (HEROIC), and research associate professor at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) Department of Pediatrics and Center for Health Disparities Research
in Charleston, South Carolina. After 20 years of advanced nurse practice as a certified nurse midwife, she trained as a health service researcher and a sociolinguist who studies health disparities, variations in communication, in how patients and health providers speak with one another, and in an array of circumstances as a mixed methods and qualitative methodologist. Over the last decade, her collaboration with multidisciplinary health and social science teams has included communication across content areas (recording primary and specialty care visits and interviews concerning, diabetes, heart failure, hypertension, trauma, adolescent vaccines, nursing shift handoffs and others) and participated in rural outreach. Dr. Pope has been funded as a principal investigator and co-investigator for a number of VA health service research and disparities studies as well as studies with the Charleston VA’s academic affiliate, MUSC. Dr. Pope also supervises an NIH/NLM-funded, Web-based, online qualitative data repository of recordings and transcriptions of interviews of people over 65 years of age of diverse race/ethnicities for available internationally for research purposes (Carolinas Conversations Collection