Cultural Competency Opens the Door to Quality Care
By Revella Nesbit, Director of Diversity & Inclusion, Cardinal Innovations Healthcare
Tammy entered the office of the licensed therapist. She was nervous and unsure if she was doing the right thing; some of her friends thought it was a waste of time and money. But one of her friends had told Tammy about her good experience with a therapist. After the appointment, the friend said she felt “emotionally lighter.”
As she entered the office, Tammy was greeted warmly by the receptionist. That’s a good start, she thought. And a short time later, she was sitting with the therapist and she too was beginning to feel emotionally lighter. The therapist was able to connect with her in a way that honored and respected who she was as a person and her family traditions. She later learned that the therapist regularly attended trainings to sharpen her skills as a culturally aware clinician. Tammy was intrigued.
Healthcare providers who are culturally competent are responsive to the cultural and communication needs of the individuals they serve. They embrace cultural humility – “self-reflection and discovery in order to build honest and trustworthy relationships.” Stigma, historical trauma and a lack of trust are some of the barriers that exist for those seeking help. Healthcare providers who have an understanding of how a person’s culture influences their beliefs about health and healing, perceptions of illness, disease, and their causes, increase the opportunities to genuinely connect with the person seeking assistance. Culturally and linguistically appropriate services continue to be recognized as an effective approach to improving quality of care and addressing health disparities.
Providing training on topics related to diversity and culturally competent care is an integral part of supporting the growing diversity that exists within our communities and the nation. According to the 2014 Mecklenburg State of the County Health Report, 51 percent of the county’s population is represented by a race/ethnicity other than white, and 8.6 percent of the population has limited English proficiency. By acknowledging this increase in racial, ethnic, and linguistic diversity, healthcare providers can be better prepared to meet the needs of everyone.
At Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, we recognize the importance of understanding culture in the treatment of the whole person. We are committed to doing our part in being a supportive partner within the communities that we serve.
In addition to cultural competence trainings for healthcare providers, we offer Mental Health First Aid, QPR (Question, Persuade, & Refer) for Suicide Prevention, Opioid 101, Person Centered Training, WRAP: Wellness Recovery Action Plan, and Whole Health Action Planning (WHAM). These trainings, along with many others, equip healthcare providers with knowledge and resources while empowering those who receive services with information that they can use to partner with healthcare providers. Training and educational opportunities are offered at low or no cost to community members, stakeholders, and healthcare providers.
To learn more about training opportunities offered by Cardinal Innovations Healthcare, visit www.cardinalinnovations.org.