237291 Embracing Diversity: Crossing Barriers to Deliver Treatment to Everyone

Monday, October 31, 2011: 6:58 PM

Elizabeth Harris, PhD , Evaluation, Management & Training Associates, Inc., Encino, CA
Addiction is not limited to any one race, religion, creed, or lifestyle. Fortunately, neither are treatment and recovery services. Achieving long-term recovery is often dependent on finding personalized treatment and recovery services that meet the specific individual's cultural, religious, or lifestyle needs. This episode will look at how substance use is acceptable in some cultures and how this may create a barrier for individuals seeking treatment and recovery services, consider the importance of providing services that incorporate the specific needs of the individual, and examine how some treatment and recovery models may prove more effective for one group than another.

“Culture” has been defined as "the shared values, traditions, norms, customs, arts, history, folklore, and institutions of a group of people." Culture shapes how people see their world and structure their community and family life. A person's cultural affiliation often determines the person's values and attitudes about health issues, responses to messages, and even the use of alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Cultural competence refers to a set of academic and interpersonal skills that allow individuals to increase their understanding and appreciation of cultural differences and similarities within, among, and between groups. This requires a willingness and ability to draw on community-based values, traditions, and customs and to work with knowledgeable persons of and from the community in developing targeted interventions, communications, and other supports.

A culturally competent program is one that demonstrates sensitivity to and understanding of cultural differences in program design, implementation, and evaluation. Cultural responsiveness is important to recognizing multiple aspects of a client's identify, overcoming barriers to recovery or to participation in the counseling process, and addressing sources of stress that may contribute to substance abuse. Techniques include individualizing the counseling approach, avoiding assumptions, acting to build trust, and identifying issues that affect client recovery.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Program planning
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify common barriers encountered when seeking culturally competent addiction treatment and recovery services. 2. Define diversity in the context of culturally competent addiction treatment and recovery services. 3. Explain the relationship between long-term recovery and personalized treatment and recovery services that meet the specific individual’s cultural, religious, or lifestyle needs. 4. Evaluate how some treatment and recovery models may prove more effective for one group than another.

Keywords: Health Education, Cultural Competency

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Elizabeth Harris, Ph.D. is one of Evaluation, Management and Training Associates, Inc. (EMT) senior staff with nearly two decades of experience in evaluation and project management with federal, state, and local agencies. She heads the Los Angeles office and currently serves as Vice President of EMT. Dr. Harris’ content areas of expertise include evaluation of public health promotion, emergency preparedness, mental health and alcohol and other drug prevention, intervention and treatment programs. She has served as project manager or study leader on four national multi-site studies, project director on county-wide and another multi-county evaluations, and Principal Investigator on more than two dozen single-site evaluations. Dr. Harris’ long history of involvement in the recovery movement includes serving as a Curriculum Developer and Instructor for the United Nations Drug Control Program in Eastern Europe, for which she provided expertise on Western models of treatment and recovery. Dr. Harris’ particular expertise was sought regarding best practices for women, youth, and HIV positive individuals. She has also worked as a counselor in a therapeutic community setting for adolescents. Dr. Harris is a licensed clinical psychologist in the State of California. Her clinical expertise is in the area of recovery from trauma. Dr. Harris is currently the co-Project Director for SAMHSA’s Road to Recovery initiative, in partnership with ICF, Inc.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.