A Different Medicine: Challenging Racial Health Disparities through a Social Work Lens within a Healthcare Setting

Thumbnail Image
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

The United States has an extensive and horrendous history as it relates to social injustices frequently experienced by People of Color (POC). One form of social injustice experienced by POC is what society commonly refers to as health disparities. When seeking healthcare services, POC reported that they frequently face problems such as inadequate time with providers during their appointments, discrimination, and insensitivity to their cultural beliefs and systems. Cultural Competence training put forth by social work practitioners has been shown to be an effective strategy for increasing knowledge and skills for providers in healthcare settings as well as decreasing negative thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors. This project seeks to provide empirical data to existing literature regarding the efficacy of cultural diversity education training amongst key stakeholders in a healthcare setting. This work also seeks to ascertain whether training programs in healthcare settings should offer a more systematic approach when providing cultural competence training. This work involved evaluating a proposed 6-hour multi-session cultural diversity education training program. The knowledge and skills amongst the participants slightly improved while negative thoughts, attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors slightly decreased. Study participants’ responses in the focus group affirmed the need for training programs to offer a more systematic approach that includes more interactive activities as well as a debriefing focus group to aid in effective and efficient learning for trainees. Implications for training programs regarding utilizing cultural diversity education training to help reduce racial health disparities and future research opportunities are discussed.

Cultural competence, Culture diversity, Health disparities 2, Racism, Education, Training, Discrimination, Unconscious bias, Cultural awareness