Highlights from the Culturally Responsive Health Care Conference

On Friday, June 3, the University of Iowa hosted a conference titled “Culturally Responsive Health Care in IOWA 2016.” Attendees met in the UI College of Public Health Building with the aim of addressing issues of racial and ethnic disparities in care, cultural differences in organ donation and transplantation, the challenges of patients with disabilities, biases in the health care setting.

The morning began with an address by Jean Robillard, MD, Vice President for Medical Affairs, about the importance of recognizing the cultural differences throughout the health care field. After announcements by Conference Co-Chair Joel Gordon, MD, from UI’s Department of Internal Medicine, Ramona Rhodes, MD, from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center gave the first keynote speech of the day, honing in on end-of-life care in diverse populations and the importance of cultural sensitivity and humility in a clinical setting.

That theme continued with the panel that followed, featuring Dr. Rhodes along with faculty from Iowa-area end-of-life care, including Ann Broderick, MD, MS, from Internal Medicine. Specializing in different areas of care, from spiritual services to social work to clinical services, each panel member contributed their opinion on a case study provided by Dr. Rhodes and fielded questions from the conference attendees on their approach to difficult situations.

After the panel, attendees were able to break out into one of four workshops on an array of topics such as issues in organ transplantation, interpretation of health care services, and perceptions of racial identity.

Lunch was followed by the second keynote of the day, given by Leslie Ashburn-Nardo, MD, an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Indiana University-Purdue University. Dr. Ashburn-Nardo’s presentation focused on evidence-based strategies for confronting prejudice, and was followed by a second round of breakout workshops before the day ended with one last panel discussion on “Invisible Disability and Unconscious Bias.”

Congratulations to all conference participants for contributing to an important and growing conversation in health care, and to Dr. Gordon for his successful work as conference co-chair.

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