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199127 Conversational Spanish courses for front-line staff: Increasing the reservoir of language and cultural competency skills for the public health workforce
Monday, November 9, 2009
With nearly 38% of Los Angeles County residents having Spanish as their primary language in the home, it is imperative that public health workforce members be able to communicate pertinent health and disease information clearly and effectively. Research has shown that inability to communicate due to language barriers increases the possibility of medical errors, thus stressing the importance of providing Spanish language and cultural competency training opportunities to workforce members. To address this critical need, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH), Office of Organizational Development and Training received funding to implement four basic- and two intermediate-level conversational Spanish courses for DPH SEIU Local 721-represented workforce members who have regular direct contact with Spanish-speaking clients. Some of these workforce members include public health nurses, health educators, public health investigators, clerks/receptionists/secretaries, occupational and physical therapists, research analysts and epidemiology analysts. Each course consists of eight three-hour class sessions and has been geared specifically towards the conversational needs of these workforce members as they interact with their Spanish-speaking clients. An evaluation was conducted to gauge the effectiveness of these Spanish language and cultural competency courses on participants' skills and ability to competently communicate with community members. The courses were evaluated to determine if workforce quality and productivity were enhanced by improving the reservoir of cultural competency and customer service skills, the flow of service delivery and service access, and by providing a safe and welcoming environment. Results of the evaluation, along with lessons learned and next steps, will be shared.
Keywords: Cultural Competency, Quality Improvement
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: of my MSN MPH.
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.