Conferences Discuss Culture-Based Care, Mental Health, Obesity Issues Affecting Minorities
Several newspapers published articles about local conferences that discussed bedside manner, mental health and obesity issues affecting minorities. Summaries appear below.
- Culture-based care: Valencia Community College in Osceola, Fla., recently held a summit for local health professionals that focused on addressing cultural competency in patient care at local hospitals, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Deanna Wathington, a family practice physician, at the summit said most physicians are prepared to treat Spanish-speaking patients, but they also need to be trained and educated on treating American Indians and Pacific Islanders, who might use alternative medicine to address health issues. She advised the group to "[s]how some appreciation for that culture." Randy Gross -- chief operating officer of Osceola Regional Medical Center, who said cultural competency has become a major component in employee training -- said, "If we didn't adapt to our changing environment, we wouldn't succeed as an employer or provider of health care" (Aradillas, Orlando Sentinel, 3/31).
- Mental health: The second annual People of Color Mental Health Conference for Southern Delaware was held Saturday at Delaware State University and focused on cultural competence, the Wilmington News Journal reports. Melinda Contreras-Byrd -- a New Jersey psychologist who owns a mental health facility that specializes in race, gender, ethnicity and faith issues -- was the keynote speaker for the event, which had about 200 participants and 22 agencies. The conference included workshops that focused on nine different topics, according to the News Journal. Marlene Saunders, chair of the conference planning committee, said, "Oftentimes, mental health professionals work with everybody in the same way, without giving recognition to how one's culture helps to identify how a person looks at their mental illness and responds to it." According to the News Journal, a "lack of awareness on the part of a mental health professional could allow another impediment into a process already rife with resistance" (Yasiejko, Wilmington News Journal, 4/1).
- Obesity: New Jersey residents, particularly blacks and Hispanics, must change their eating and exercise habits, community leaders and lawmakers said Saturday at a conference at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, the Bergen Record reports. More than 50% of adults in the state are obese, and one in three black women are considered obese, according to the Record. In addition, the state has the highest obesity rate in the nation among children between ages two and five. Attendees called for more government programs that focus on healthy eating and exercise, adding more green space in urban communities, markets that sell fresh vegetables and fruit, and healthier school lunches. "We're losing the whole war on obesity. The traditional home-cooked meal is becoming increasingly rare and is being replaced by restaurants and fast food," state Rep. Donald Payne (D) said at the conference (Kremen, Bergen Record, 4/1).