Prepare and support a diverse MCH workforce that is culturally competent and family centered.
MCHB strives to develop an MCH workforce that is more reflective of the diversity of the nation. This strategy requires that we focus on increasing the diversity of MCH faculty and students. By addressing faculty and trainee diversity, and incorporating cultural competence and family centered care into training programs, the MCH Training Program aims to improve the quality of care for the MCH population. Over time, the Program must evaluate whether the emphases on diversity, cultural competence and family centered care might also help to reduce health disparities.
The goals of the Health Resources and Services Administration are to focus on uninsured, underserved, and special needs populations by improving access to health care, improving health outcomes, improving the quality of healthcare, and eliminating health disparities. The MCH Training program contributes to achieving these goals by funding universities to train an MCH workforce that is culturally competent and reflects an increasingly diverse U.S. population. The MCH Training Program focuses on recruiting racially and ethnically diverse trainees and faculty because studies have documented that diverse providers are more likely to serve underserved populations, thus increasing the likelihood that health care disparities will be addressed. According to the Institute of Medicine Report, Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Health Care, “The healthcare workforce and its ability to deliver quality care for racial and ethnic minorities can be improved substantially by increasing the proportion of underrepresented U.S. racial and ethnic minorities among health professionals” (p. 2). In their report In the Nation's Compelling Interest: Ensuring Diversity in the Health Care Workforce, the Institute of Medicine further determined, “Increasing racial and ethnic diversity among health professionals is important because evidence indicates that diversity is associated with improved access to care for racial and ethnic minority patients, greater patient choice and satisfaction, and better educational experiences for health professional students, among many other benefits (p. 1).
Diversity: One goal of the MCH Training Program is to increase the percent of trainees who are from underrepresented groups. “Underrepresented groups” refer to, but are not limited to, groups based on race, ethnicity, geographic location, gender, disability status, etc. who are underrepresented in a field of study.
Cultural Competence: “Culture” refers to language, thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values and institutions of racial, ethnic, religious, social group or self-identified community. “Competence” implies having the capacity to function effectively as an individual and/or organization within the context of the cultural beliefs, behaviors, and needs presented by consumers and their communities. Cultural competence is the knowledge, interpersonal skills and behaviors that enable a system, organization, program, or individual to work effectively cross culturally by understanding, appreciating, honoring, and respecting cultural differences and similarities within and between cultures.
Cultural competence is a dynamic, ongoing, developmental process that requires a long-term commitment and is achieved over time.
MCH training projects address issues of cultural competency by including cultural competence training in the curriculum, administrative procedures, faculty and staff development, and recruiting and retaining racially and ethnically diverse faculty and students.
More on Cultural Competence
Cultural competence requires that systems, organizations, programs and individuals must have the ability to:
- Appreciate diversity and similarities in customs, values, beliefs and communication patterns among all peoples
- Understand and effectively respond to cultural differences
- Engage in cultural self-assessment at the individual and organizational levels
- Make adaptations to the delivery of services and enabling supports through policy making, infrastructure building, program administration, and evaluation
- Institutionalize cultural knowledge and practices
- Communicate effectively with persons of limited English proficiency, reading and comprehension skills.
Engaging Families, Youth and Communities: Family-centered care assures the health and well-being of children and their families though a respectful family-professional partnership. It honors the strengths, cultures, traditions, and expertise that everyone brings to this relationship. Family centered care is the standard of practice that results in high quality services.
MCH Training Programs have expanded this definition to include family members, youth and community members as critical partners. Within MCH Training Programs, family, youth and community members are faculty members, advisors, and students. Within the LEND training programs, families are required to be faculty members and/or consultants to all programs.