Continuing education effects on cultural competence knowledge and skills building among health professionals
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Racial and ethnic minority health data from a national perspective indicates there is much to learn in the public health workforce about the ongoing health disparities crisis. This suggests a level of urgency to assist our public health professionals in obtaining specific skills sets that will assist them in working better with vulnerable populations. The purpose of this research is to assess cultural competence knowledge and programmatic skill sets, utilizing an explorational case study, of individuals employed within an urban public health department. In order to effectively evaluate these constructs, a quantitative research approach was employed to examine participants' knowledge and competencies of the subject matter. This data was further analyzed to determine if continuing education participation and training was correlated to the levels of culturally competent practice engagement and self-reported confidence. In addition, researchers obtained data on the availability of employer sponsored training opportunities. The data suggested when health professionals engage in cultural competence education, their level of awareness of unique characteristics between ethnic and racial minorities increased. Those who exhibited the healthiest behaviors, as it relates to effectively working with diverse populations, had a heightened sense of knowledge related to culture and healthcare services. Continuing education in cultural competence is an essential strategy for improving public health employees' effectiveness in working with diverse clients and reducing racial and ethnic health disparities. As the finding illustrated, training programs must incorporate educational components which foster skill building to enable subsequent culturally appropriate clinical interactions.
author list (cited authors)
Hall, M. B., Guidry, J. J., McKyer, E., Outley, C., & Ballard, D.