DiversityRx 2010 -- Highlights from a Diversity Practitioner

  • Posted In: Conference
  • By Mina Kini, Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Texas Health Resources

    Close to the country’s capital in Baltimore, over 800 attendees from across the nation gathered for the Seventh National Conference focused on Quality Health Care for Culturally Diverse Populations.   The small but creative energetic group of Diversity Rx staff planned this conference that drew outstanding presenters from the United States and the world.  The 4 days of the conference were packed with sessions focused on healthcare quality, safety, equity and cultural responsive strategies in care of diverse populations.  On discussions ranging from language access services to solutions for growing cultural competence, different factors were shared, examined, deliberated and discussed by professions from across the country and the global participants.

    This conference (my first) in retrospect was one of the best learning opportunities I have participated in my professional career.  Working in this emerging field of culturally and linguistically responsive care strategies, the conference was a one-package deal that provided me a great return-on-investment for my time and resources.  As I reflect on the value-added of this conference to my professional practice and journey, I would like to share my top 10 highlights (Letterman style) and share some takeaways for you...

    My Top 10 from the 7th Diversity Rx Conference:

    10.  Care of diverse populations is becoming a global public health consideration with dialogue in forums like the United Nations, World Health Assembly and WHO Global Consultation on Migrant Health in 2010.

    9.  Professional organizations like the AMA, ANA, and American College of Cardiology, to name a few, are actively integrating cultural competence knowledge and strategies into their organizational framework.   Care of diverse populations is also becoming a component of accreditation schemes in the United States and other parts of the world.

    8.  Certification processes for interpreters, year-long professional certificate courses in investigating disparities, and other similar accreditation and peer learning efforts are helping build legitimacy and knowledge base for this emerging field of work.  Ongoing professional dialogue via webinars and listservs are helping strengthen this body of knowledge.  Join and add your voice to these conversations through the CLAS listserv and Your Voice webinars, etc.

    7. The 10 year review and refinement of National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically appropriate services is underway.  Professionals in the field are invited to share their comments about effectiveness of communication strategies: translation, interpretation, etc. You can read about the public input process.

    8.  The evidence base is growing and spurring new work in language access and culturally responsive care strategies. The Joint Commission, national health care reform and other health policy initiatives are incorporating this in their work on improving patient safety and health quality.  Explore the Electronic Poster Sessions on the conference website focused on research in various settings: hospitals, medical university, public health and community.

    7.  REaL, or Race, Ethnicity and Language, data are critical drivers that help establish the framework for care delivery.  Health quality of populations is being measured using this data segmentation to understand and explore health outcomes.  As language professionals, being knowledgeable about how this data is collected in your organization or setting is critical.  Do you collect and know the composition of your patient segments?  
    6.  Creating leadership buy-in and support is another critical success factor for successful integration of programs and initiatives focused on culturally and linguistically appropriate services.  

    5.  Investment in learning and education to keep abreast of the rapidly evolving knowledge base is essential.  Books, literature, resources, and techniques are now being shared in mainstream healthcare knowledge streams and actively sharing these resources with the organization in “meaningful chunks” is critical. My personal favorite learning mode was the Film Festival that showcased many issue-based films that raised sensitivities to different dimensions of diversity.

    4. Similar to our annual health check-ups, organizational assessment is critical to examine the pulse and the health of strategies and initiatives in an organization. Many new processes, methodologies and tools were shared.

    3. Our communities are changing with new dimensions of diversity emerging in healthcare:  refugee populations, the disabled, and LGBT to name a few.  Strategies were shared and discussed in small round table affinity groups that provided insight into work across our different communities.

    2.  Networking opportunities to learn from the different corners of the US and the world over lunch grouped by state, in hallways, during sessions....all engaged in one focus – improving healthcare outcomes for diverse populations

    1.   24x7 Open Access to conference materials, abstracts and bios and resources – available on the internet at http://www.diversityrxconference.org/ or http://dx.confex.com/dx/10/webprogram/meeting.html  The Diversity Rx.org website and CLAS email listserv are both well worth learning about and joining.

    This conference comes once every two years and I look forward to 2012 for this learning and growth opportunity as well as to add my voice to the conversations and solutions for health equity and quality care for ALL.

    Reprinted from the 2011 Winter edition of the TAHIT Newsletter http://www.tahit.us



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