Efforts Address Cultural Competency, Cancer, Hospice Care and Health Disparities Among Minority Populations
American Pharmacists Association: APhA this month released "Essentials of Cultural Competence in Pharmacy Practice," its first textbook designed to assist pharmacists and students with cultural competency. The textbook features chapters on legal and ethical issues surrounding culturally competent care; self-assessment tools; the family dynamics of biracial and multiracial families; and the cultural practices of many ethnic groups, among other topics. According to an APhA release, knowledge of a patient's cultural background can help pharmacists deliver care "that accommodates the patient's needs, beliefs and health practices" (APhA release, 4/23).
- Bone marrow: The Washington Post recently featured the efforts of a Rockville, Md., man, Rocky Twyman, who in recent years has been "devoted to saving the lives" of blacks with bone marrow cancer. According to the Post, Twyman is responsible for facilitating several bone marrow drives in the past 15 years that have added more than 14,000 minorities to the bone marrow donor list. Twyman and three other individuals were recognized by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society for its new Above & Beyond Citizen Honors (Harris, Washington Post, 4/17).
California Breast Cancer Research Program: The state-run program announced on Tuesday that it is offering $23 million in grants to scientists who study environmental causes of breast cancer in women and the roles ethnicity and area of residence play in diagnosis and survival, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. Marion Kavanugh-Lynch, director of the program, said the money will go toward 10 research areas that are routinely overlooked in national studies. Grants will also go toward two larger studies of 330,000 women (San Francisco Chronicle, 4/18).
- Cancer: In recognition of National Minority Cancer Awareness Week, Florida A&M University President James Ammons on Monday launched a coalition for black men's health, the Tallahassee Democrat reports. The committee will seek to reduce prostate cancer rates among black men through education, research and coordination of resources. FAMU also held events throughout the week to educate students and the faculty on the disease (Taylor, Tallahassee Democrat, 4/22). The Genesee County Cancer Connection in Michigan also held free cancer screenings as part of the awareness week (Shaw, Flint Journal, 4/22).
Connecticut NAACP: The Connecticut chapter of the NAACP last week gathered with religious leaders and state lawmakers at the state Capitol to advocate for health initiatives that address racial disparities, the Meriden Record-Journal reports. The leaders met in response to a report commissioned by the chapter that found health disparities between blacks and whites in the state. Rev. Shelley Copeland, executive director of the Capital Region Conference of Churches, said the state health care system is broken in terms of access and treatment of minority patients (Wittenberg, Meriden Record-Journal, 4/17).
- End-of-life care: About 100 nurses, physicians, social workers and other professionals gathered recently in Pittsburgh to take part in a two-day conference focusing on end-of-life care for blacks, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. The conference sessions used a program called APPEAL that is designed to educate health professionals who work with a large percentage of black patients, who typically use hospice care and pain relief measures to a lesser extent than other groups, according to the Post-Gazette. The Coalition for Quality at the End of Life hopes to hold a series of public events at the University of Pittsburgh Institute To Enhance Palliative Care to follow up on the APPEAL program (Rotstein, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4/18).