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Future healthcare professionals to learn how cultural views can shape practice at UofL

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Sept. 26, 2012) — University of Louisville students preparing for health science professions will spend a day learning how to become more sensitive to various cultures and lifestyles. The Health Sciences Center (HSC) Cultural Competency Workshop is Thursday from 8 a.m. to 2:30p.m. at UofL’s HSC campus.

“The demographics of the population we have the privilege to treat are changing, and we want our future workforce to understand and appreciate the diversity of patients and appreciate how one’s own culture may affect healthcare decisions,” said V. Faye Jones, MD, associate dean for academic affairs and professor of pediatrics, UofL School of Medicine. “We all come with our own assumptions and expectations, and this educational program will hopefully allow a safe environment to explore and value other perspectives.”

The AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges) and the ASPH (Association of Schools of Public Health) recently issued a report, “Cultural Competence Education for Students in Medicine and Public Health,” to offer guidance on teaching students the knowledge, skills and attitudes critical for addressing the health needs of an increasingly diverse American public.

“UofL is a leader in educating students in the topic of cultural sensitivity – this is the seventh year we have offered the workshop, and it is a significant event for our campus,” said Mordean Taylor-Archer, PhD, vice provost, UofL Diversity and International Affairs.

Medical, dental and dental hygiene students helped plan the event. Public health, nursing and audiology students also will participate in the workshop. This year’s sessions focus on learning more about cultural issues involved with the Mennonite community; understanding the history of acupuncture and how it is used in western society; identifying areas where Islamic principles could impact the practice of western medicine on Muslim patients; exploring how to work effectively with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgendered (LGBT) patients; increasing knowledge of mental health issues and military culture of veterans and their families; examining the intersection of legal child discipline with illegal child maltreatment; and identifying preconceived ideas students bring to cultural competency.