Source: AETC National Multicultural Center
The Health Resources and Services Administration awarded Howard University College of Medicine, Department of Infectious Diseases, a cooperative agreement to establish the AETC National Multicultural Center (AETC NMC). The Center will serve as the AETC's leader for the provision of training, curriculum development, and best practices in cross-cultural and multicultural HIV/AIDS care. The objective of this effort is to reduce HIV/AIDS disparities by 1) increasing crosscultural awareness and competency in health care professionals, while facilitating the needs of people living with HIV/AIDS; and 2) improving communication between health care providers and their patients living with HIV/AIDS.
"We are keenly attuned to how racial/ethnic disparities in the HIV/AIDS rate stem, in part, from a cultural dissonance that often shapes the provider-patient relationship," says Goulda A. Downer, PhD, AETC NMC Principal Investigator and Project Director. "We have sought to attack this problem directly by developing and teaching the only available nationwide model of cultural competence that specifically targets HIV/AIDS-serving clinicians with a view to assisting them to work across cultures while delivering the highest quality of care". This model is the nationally recognized BESAFE (Barriers to Care, Ethics, Sensitivity of the Provider, Assessment, Facts and Encounters.)
Building on the success of the National Minority AETC, the Center will continue working with cultural competency experts. In collaboration with these experts, the Center will develop a national curricula and a training series to strengthen provider capacity to offer culturally appropriate care. The training series will include a core curriculum in addition to trainings on cultural competency in diagnostics and treatment, working with special populations, and inter/intra-cultural communication. For example, with regard to special populations trainings, the Center will address cultural competency training for foreign trained clinicians (FTCs), also referred to as International Medical Graduates. FTCs have been an important part of the US health care workforce and are increasingly recruited to fill the medical shortages. FTCs whose cultural beliefs and biases hinder them from adapting successfully to their changed practice environment may have less than optimal relationships with patients and colleagues as a consequence.
Through these efforts, the Center will strengthen the ability of health care providers to address the distinct health needs of diverse, multiethnic populations within the context of health promotion and health care delivery. The results should translate into better health care and a strengthening of the health systems response to the HIV epidemic.
The Center's training and technical assistance programs will be conducted via the web or face-to-face. These programs will support core components of President Obama's National HIV/AIDS Strategy to reduce new HIV infections; increase access to care while improving HIV health outcomes and reducing health inequities and HIV-related disparities. The Center will also support the AETC mission by offering timely, high quality, state-of-the-art information in the areas of cultural competency and fluency to healthcare professionals working with existing and emerging populations affected by HIV/AIDS.