In this great nation, cultural demographics are not only changing nationally, but locally. It is estimated that by 2018 more than half of the nation’s children are expected to be part of a minority race or ethnic group, and the United States is projected to become a majority minority nation for the first time in the year 2050. In the state of Ohio, we are also experiencing growth and change. Estimates show Ohio’s foreign-born population was 13.1% in 2014, with the top four countries of birth of legal permanent residents being from Somalia, India, China and Mexico.
Ohio faces a number of disparate health outcomes that are the result of a lack of knowledge and understanding about the diverse racial and ethnic populations being served. This challenge sparks a greater need to understand how to effectively engage and serve all populations that reside in Stark County. Through StarkMHAR, the Stark County Cultural Competence and Learning Community and Committee (SC3C) will host its first ever Population Focused Learning Series that highlights various communities in Stark County. Starting in 2017, populations highlighted will include the Hispanic/Latino, African-American, Youth and Young Adult and Appalachian communities. In the year 2018, additional populations will be highlighted including Faith-based, LGBTQ and Amish populations. Objectives for the Population Focused Learning Series include both efforts to reduce disparities and improve the quality of service and outcomes.
Cultural competence benefits consumers, stakeholders and communities as well as supports positive health outcomes. Research has shown that the interventions that are successful in changing performance and health care outcomes are those that practice enabling strategies and reinforce methods of patient education. Studies suggest that an educational intervention has the best chance of having an impact on health care outcomes if it is multifaceted and inclusive of key components such as: focusing on specific clinical conditions, targeting a particular population, teaching specific skills, developing practice-enabling strategies and creating a patient component to measure provider and patient satisfaction. As we strive to meet other challenges in health care in America, we should focus on developing the skills needed to care for diverse populations.
Interested in learning more about Cultural Competence? Find out more about the Stark County Cultural Competence and Learning Community and Committee (SC3C) by contacting Jessica.Zavala@StarkMHAR.org or 330-455-6644.