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Cultural Competency and Health Workforce Diversity Highlights

More than Words Toolkit by Hablamos Juntos – Language Policy and Practice in Health Care (2009)  

Hablamos Juntos and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation have released the More Than Words Toolkit Series, a first-of-its-kind resource that clarifies the translation process, and provides a roadmap to help health care organizations improve the quality of their translated materials in order to get better results.

To access the toolkit, visit .


The Providers Guide to Quality and Culture (2009) 

The Providers Guide to Quality and Culture is a joint project of the Management Sciences for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, and the Bureau of Primary Health Care. The Guide is intended to assist health care organizations throughout the U.S. in providing high quality, culturally competent services to multi-ethnic populations.

To access this guide, please visit =.


New Book - Interviewing Clients across Cultures: A Practitioner’s Guide (June 2008)

This guide, authored by Lisa Aronson Fontes, helps professionals conduct productive interviews while building strong working relationships with culturally and linguistically diverse clients. Chapters cover avoiding different types of bias; verbal and nonverbal ways to build rapport and convey respect; how to overcome language barriers, including effective use of interpreters; culturally competent interviews with children and adolescents; and key issues in working with immigrants and refugees. Strategies for avoiding common cross-cultural misunderstandings and producing fair, accurate reports are presented. Every chapter concludes with thought-provoking discussion questions and resources for further reading.

Additional information is available from the Guildford Press at .


What is Your Health Literacy Score? Navigating the Healthcare System :  Advice Column By: Carolyn Clancy, MD, Agency for Health Care Quality and Research (May 20, 2008) 

Dr. Clancy Health discusses a topic important for all health professionals; how health literacy is the key to getting and staying healthy.  Additional health literacy resources are provided.

View this advice column at .


Unified Health Communication 101: Addressing Health Literacy, Cultural Competency, and Limited English Proficiency

This training is a free on-line learning experience that will help you:1) Improve your patient communication skills, 2) Increase your awareness and knowledge of the three main factors that affect your communication with patients: health literacy, cultural competency and low English proficiency, and 3) Implement patient-centered communication practices that demonstrate cultural competency and appropriately address patients with limited health literacy and low English proficiency.

Click here for more information.


Featured Book - The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies (2007)

Author Scott E. Page redefines the way we understand ourselves in relation to one another. The Difference is about how we think in groups--and how our collective wisdom exceeds the sum of its parts. Why can teams of people find better solutions than brilliant individuals working alone? And why are the best group decisions and predictions those that draw upon the very qualities that make each of us unique? The answers lie in diversity--not what we look like outside, but what we look like within, our distinct tools and abilities. 

Additional information is available from the Princeton University Press at .


E-learning Program on Cultural Competency in Healthcare (April 2008)

Quality Interactions is the first e-learning program on cultural competency in healthcare. It is based on nationally recognized cross-cultural curriculum published in the Annals of Internal Medicine by Drs. Joseph Betancourt, Emilio Carrillo and Alexander Green. Quality Interactions is an e-learning program that provides case-based instruction on cross-cultural health care. This interactive program focuses on common clinical and/or cross-cultural scenarios that build a framework of knowledge and skills for delivering quality care to diverse patient populations. The program is accredited for 2.5 hours CME/CEU/CM.

The program is available on-line at



Online Training Course-Unified Health Communication 101: Addressing Health Literacy, Cultural Competency and Limited English Proficiency (February 2008)


A new online training course, developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), has been designed to help health care providers improve communications with their patients. The course, titled "Unified Health Communication 101: Addressing Health Literacy, Cultural Competency and Limited English Proficiency," is free and can be taken for continuing education credit.  The goal of the course is to help participants improve patient communication skills; increase awareness and knowledge of the three main factors that affect communication with patients: health literacy, cultural competency and low English proficiency; and implement patient-centered communication practices that demonstrate cultural competency and appropriately address patients with limited health literacy and low English proficiency. 

The course is available at .


Featured Article - Racial Bias in Clinical Management? (Fall 2007) 

The landmark report of the Institute of Medicine in 2002, Unequal Treatment , named bias, discrimination and prejudice as key contributors to health disparities.  These biases affect not only patient-provider communications, but also the kind of treatment options that are made available to patients. A new study just released by Harvard researchers used the Implicit Association Test (IAT) to detect overt and implicit prejudice applied in attending to a simulation case of a fifty-year-old man stricken with sharp chest pain, who in different scenarios “changed” racial backgrounds. While physicians reported no explicit preferences for white versus black patients, IAT revealed implicit preferences favoring white patients and implicit stereotypes of black Americans as less cooperative in general and with medical procedures in particular.  (Green et al., JGIM, June 27, 2007 epub ).

The fact that race matters in clinical management has long been established. Kevin Schulman and his colleagues illustrated in 1999 that women and blacks presenting with chest pain are less likely than other groups to be referred for cardiac catheterization (a procedure which is paramount for the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease), even after controlling for symptoms. The report concluded that this practice “may suggest bias on the part of the physician.” Similarly, black patients are less likely to receive cardiac angioplasty (widening of blood vessels) or revascularization following a heart attack, both life-saving procedures. Moreover, black and Hispanic patients are also less likely to undergo renal transplantation, receive surgical management of degenerative spinal disorders or be prescribed pain medications for long bone fractures.  These findings are especially perplexing given that in most of these studies there were no statistically significant differences in patients’ preferences regarding these procedures by race.

The October 29, 2007 issue of JAMA reported a study illustrating that women and black patients were significantly less likely than white patients to receive Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillators (ICD) therapy independent of other characteristics, such as patients’ preferences, age, hospital characteristics and comorbidity. The authors conclude that further research is needed to understand the reasons for these disparities, but suggest that physicians consider “certain groups more prominently” due to their higher representation in clinical trials. Unlike the earlier Schulman study, this recent article did not suggest bias as an underlined cause for the differential treatment…


Minority Student Opportunities in United States Medical Schools (November 2007)

Published by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the information in this book is supplied by individual medical schools in response to a questionnaire from the AAMC's Division of Diversity Policy and Programs about minority student opportunities. For most school entries, the narrative descriptions cover seven topics: recruitment; admissions; academic support programs; enrichment programs; student financial assistance; educational partnerships; and other pertinent information.  

Additional information can be accessed at  


Strategies for Leadership:  Does Your Hospital Reflect the Community it Serves?(April 2004)

The National Center for Healthcare Leadership, American Hospital Association, American College of Healthcare Executives and the Institute for Diversity in Health Management put together a checklist for healthcare leadership to assess their institution’s diversity orientation.  The check list is followed by action steps, case studies and a comprehensive bibliography.

The report can be accessed at  


Blacks are Less Optimistic About the State of “Black America” than Whites (November 2007)

African Americans seem to be less upbeat about the state of black progress in America, and future prospects as compared to attitudes and perceptions measured twenty-five years ago. A new report on racial attitudes done by the Pew Research Center was just released. The report is based on a telephone survey conducted in October of 2007 among a nationally representative sample of more than 3,000 adults. Blacks were significantly less likely than whites to feel that “things are better fro blacks that they were five years ago”.  They also are less likely to believe that things will get better in the future.  Whites, were twice as likely to report gains made by blacks in the past five years, with the vast majority of them believing that things will get even better in the future for blacks. Two major findings are noteworthy: Blacks have much less confidence in the fairness of the criminal justice system than whites and believe that anti-black discrimination is pervasive.

The report can be accessed at


Faculty from Ethnic and Racial Minority Background is Still Dismal (October 2007)  

A study done by the University of Oklahoma, titled: “A National Analysis of Minorities in Science and Engineering Faculties at Research Universities” provides the first national and most comprehensive analysis to date on tenured and tenure track faculty in the top 100 departments of science and engineering disciplines. The report shows that minorities and women are significantly under-represented among academic faculty, and that the majority of faculty members from these groups are concentrated in the Assistant professor level.  While under-represented minorities (Blacks, Native Americans and Hispanics) reach almost one third of the US population they represent only 2.2 to 13.5 of faculty in various disciplines (with sociology being the highest). The author also found a number of disparities between the number of PhD minority recipients in the hiring pool and the racial distribution of newly hired faculty.A plethora of studies found that limited availability of diverse faculty is one key factor in both the matriculation and graduation of underrepresented minorities from institutions of higher education.

The study can be accessed at


Closing the Collage Achievement Gap (October 2007)

A new initiative called “Access to Success” uses education as a tool to achieve the greatest degree of social equality.  The initiative is a joint effort of the National Association of System Heads and the Education Trust, a non-profit group concerned with high academic achievement for all, and national leaders of State College and University Systems.  Under the new initiative, members will begin public reporting of uniform data on the rate of low income and minority students and other state students that enroll in system institutions, and actually are conferred a degree. Each participating university will craft its own plan to cut its graduation gaps between minorities and non-minorities by half by 2015.

For more information visit


San Francisco Pioneers Cultural Assessment is Clinical Decision Making

San Francisco, a city of distinct neighborhoods populated by largely diverse groups from around the world, as well as a sizable Gay and Lesbian population, is attempting to initiate a universal health care plan to all its residents which will incorporate cultural competency into all facets of care. The city is home to thousand of immigrants speaking more than 100 languages, and has already reached a majority status of ethnic and racial minorities. The city has operated neighborhood health clinics for decades sprawling from China Town to the Mission District, where linguistically and culturally competent services are matter of every-day business. The plan called “Healthy San Francisco” was created by the city to make health services accessible to uninsured persons to basic and on-going medical care.

For more information visit


Another Blow to Race Conscious Decisions in Higher Education

Five more states may curb the use of race in hiring and admissions. Ward Connerly, an affirmative action critic and founder and Chairperson of the American Civil Rights Institute, targeted five states for a “Super Tuesday” vote in November of 2008 banning the use of racial, ethnic and gender preferences by public colleges and other state and local agencies in the states of Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma. It is thought that these states are likely to pass such a vote because of their constituency and already growing racial tensions. Should this measure pass in any or all of the five states, it will provide precedence for similar actions in additional states, and will add another blow in a long string of strikes against affirmative action measures from the California Regents action of 1995 to the most recent Supreme court rulings in Kentucky and Washington States.

For more information visit .


The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Launches an Exciting Campaign to Encourage Under-graduate Minority Students to Seek Medical Education (Fall 2006)

The AAMC vouches to raise awareness of the critical need for diversity in medical education and encourage competent Under Represented Minorities (African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans) to enroll in medical education. 

AAMC Employs a three pronged campaign:

Create an interactive on-line virtual community to inform and inspire college students from underrepresented groups.

Conduct comprehensive outreach at four universities and colleges with high minority enrollment.

Enhance the AAMC targeted outreach to minority students already interested in medical education.

For more information visit: 

Or contact:
Sr. Vice President
Office of Communications
Charles Terrell, Ed.D
Vice President
Division of Diversity Policy and Programs
(202) 828-0400
Scholarships and Fellowships

Health Personnel Shortage Incentive Grant Program

The Health Personnel Shortage Incentive Grant Program (HPSIG) increases the number of graduates eligible for licensure, certification, or registration in designated health shortage occupations.Eligible educational programs receive up to $1,500 for each student who graduates. Funds are used to enhance or expand the educational programs leading to licensure or certification in the health occupations that the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene determines to be in short supply. Eligible institutions submit applications to participate.

For more information visit:


Hospitals, Health Plans and Organizations Take Note!  

The Disparities Solutions Center is now accepting applications for the Disparities Leadership Program (DLP) for 2008-2009.  The program is a year long executive education program designed for leaders from hospitals, health plans and other healthcare organizations who want to develop a strategic plan to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health care, particularly through quality improvement.  The program is jointly sponsored by the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA) and supported by Joint Commission Resources, Inc., an affiliate of the Joint Commission.  Intent to Apply forms are due by February 15, 2008 and complete applications are due by March 14, 2008

More information and application forms are available at


Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholars Program

The Barbara Jordan Health Policy Scholars Program brings talented college seniors and recent graduates to Washington, D.C., where they are placed in congressional offices and learn about health policy issues, with a focus on issues affecting racial and ethnic minorities and underserved communities. Through the nine-week program (May 19-July 26, 2008), Scholars gain knowledge about federal legislative procedure and health policy issues, while further developing their critical thinking and leadership skills. In addition to gaining experience in a congressional office, Scholars participate in seminars and site visits to augment their knowledge of health care issues, and write and present a health policy research memo that addresses a problem of concern to disadvantaged populations. The deadline for the 2008 program will be 5pm ET on December 14, 2007

Additional information can be located at  


The Wellstone Fellowship for Social Justice 

Families USA has established The Wellstone Fellowship for Social Justice to foster the advancement of social justice through participation in health care advocacy work that focuses on the unique challenges facing many communities of color.

The fellowship hopes to expand the pool of talented social justice advocates from underrepresented racial and ethnic minority groups, particularly from the Black/African American, Latino, American Indian, and Asian and Pacific Islander communities.The goals of the Wellstone fellowship program are: to address disparities in access to health care; to inspire Wellstone Fellows to continue to work for social justice throughout their lives; and to increase the number and racial and ethnic diversity of up-and-coming social justice advocates and leaders.

Additional information is available at  


Cultural Competence Leadership Fellowship

Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET) and Health Forum, in partnership with the Institute for Diversity in Health Management, the National Center for Healthcare Leadership and the American Hospital Association, are launching a new professional development program to help health care leaders to become more culturally competent. The overarching goal of the Cultural Competence Leadership Fellowship is to help health care providers to narrow the health disparities gap among different cultural and ethnic populations, and to make all interactions between all individuals and the health care system as positive and effective as possible. Cultural Competence Fellows will acquire new skills, tools, and perspectives aimed at meeting challenges associated with multicultural issues.

For more information visit:


The Meyerhoff Scholarship Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County

The Meyerhoff Program is open to all high-achieving high school seniors who have an interest in pursuing doctoral study in the sciences or engineering, and who are interested in the advancement of minorities in the sciences and related fields.  The Meyerhoff Scholars Program awards four-year scholarships for tuition, mandatory fees, room and board.  To be considered, students must be nominated by their high school administrators, guidance counselors or teachers.

For more information visit:


The Society for the Study of Social Problems – Racial/Ethnic Minority Graduate Scholarship

The purpose of the Racial/Ethnic Minority Graduate Scholarship is to: identify and support developing minority scholars; give renewed energy and wider lenses to diversity in scholarship; increase the pool of minority social and behavioral scientists; and establish a formal commitment to diversity.  Applications are due by and must be received no later than February 1, 2008.

For more information visit:


The C. Sylvia and Eddie C. Brown Community Health Scholarship at Johns Hopkins University

The Brown Scholarship is designed to train leaders who are committed to eliminating health disparities in Baltimore. The Scholarship will provide tuition, stipend and research support to three promising doctoral candidates entering the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the fall of 2007. Scholars will enroll as PhD or DrPH students in one of the following departments at the School: Epidemiology , Health Policy and Management , Health, Behavior and Society , and Population, Family and Reproductive Health . Ideal candidates are students whose research and practice focus on improving the health and quality of life of underserved populations in Baltimore. Individuals from minority groups are strongly encouraged to apply.

For more information visit:  


Baltimore Scholars Program at Johns Hopkins University

Baltimore Scholars Program is a full-tuition scholarship for Baltimore City public school students applying for freshman admission to Johns Hopkins.  Scholarships are available to attend undergraduate programs at the Krieger School of Arts & Sciences, the Whiting School of Engineering, the School of Nursing, the School of Professional of Professional Studies in Business & Education, and the Peabody Conservatory. 

For more information visit:


University of Maryland, Eastern Shore 

The University of Maryland, Easter Shore offers a variety of scholarship opportunities for students. Some scholarships are specific to students studying in health/science areas. These include: Alliance for Minority Participation Scholarship, Honors Program Scholarship, and Minority Access to Research Careers.

For more information visit:


Coppin State University

Coppin State University provides a variety of scholarship opportunities for students. There are specifically scholarships for students wishing to pursue degrees in Nursing and Rehabilitation Services.

For more information visit:


The Gates Millennium Scholars 

The Gates Millennium Scholars (GMS), funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was established in 1999 to provide outstanding low income African American, American Indian/Alaska Natives, Asian Pacific Islander American, and Hispanic American students with an opportunity to complete an undergraduate college education in any discipline area of interest.

For more information visit: