161663 Health traditions assessment: A step towards building cultural competency

Monday, November 5, 2007: 12:30 PM

Gopal Sankaran, MD, DrPH, CHES , Department of Health, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, West Chester, PA
Increasing diversity of the United States (US) population is a reality in the 21st century. The Census 2000 indicates that one out of four persons in the US are non-Whites with Hispanic Americans constituting the largest (12.5% of total population) and fastest growing minority group. The Healthy People 2010 goal of “eliminating all health disparities” and the National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health Care highlight the need for all health care providers to be client-centered and cross-culturally competent. This necessitates health care professionals to be able to elicit, understand, and work with traditional health practices used by their clients.

This session describes the utility and outcomes of a health traditions assessment (HTA) used in a 100-level college health course as a step towards building cultural competency. Students are initially provided the necessary background for understanding the role of culture in health and illness. A theoretical framework for conducting the HTA is emphasized. Each student carefully chooses an interviewee who is much older than him/her and belongs to a different gender and race/ethnicity. Students conduct a comparative analysis of their interviewees' and their own responses to the HTA. They then summarize their observations in a narrative noting the similarities and differences and offer rational reasons for them.

A content analysis of the narratives from over 150 students was performed to identify key benefits from the HTA assignment. The HTA, its evaluation, and resources to learn more about health traditions of different cultural groups will be presented.

Learning Objectives:
1. Explain the theoretical framework for conducting a health traditions assessment. 2. Discuss the benefits of conducting a health traditions assessment. 3. Specify three strategies for developing cultural competency. 4. Identify three resources to enhance one’s knowledge about health traditions of different cultural groups

Keywords: Cultural Competency, Alternative Medicine/Therapies

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No
Any institutionally-contracted trials related to this submission?

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.