Earlier this month, I had the opportunity to attend the American Public Health Association (APHA) annual meeting in Chicago, where I got to meet the people behind some of the resources I teach about and present a poster about the Response and Recovery App in Washington (RRAIN) app and project, led by the University of Washington Health Sciences Library. (more…)
Archive for November, 2015
What is cultural competency? Like many concepts, there is no one definition. Cultural awareness is a fundamental element in cultural competence. Being aware and conscious of cultural differences and similarities is important but so is the awareness of one’s own culture and recognizing and acknowledging the impact it has on those of other cultures. Our communities are becoming more and more diverse as people move from one place to another whether seeking education, better opportunities or because of political turmoil, violent conflict, economic hardships, or for a variety of other reasons. Imagine the fear and stress of coming to a country where language, transportation, money, housing, healthcare, laws, social customs are all very different and being expected to assimilate almost immediately! But cultural competency isn’t just limited to new immigrants as many ethnic groups have been living here for generations or centuries before Europeans arrived but continue to be minority cultures.
According to the National Institutes of Health, “Culture is often described as the combination of a body of knowledge, a body of belief and a body of behavior. It involves a number of elements, including personal identification, language, thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions that are often specific to ethnic, racial, religious, geographic, or social groups.” Typically we think of ethnic or racial groups as cultures. This is true, they are indeed cultures but the term ‘culture’ can also be used to describe other social groups such as youth, rural, and specific disabilities or health conditions. For example you may have heard of deaf culture or culture of poverty. The terms ‘community’ or ‘world’ have also been used. But awareness of these various cultures is important in communication, in education, business and health. Our ability to interact with various cultures with sensitivity, awareness, and respect can affect disparities, opportunities, and successes. (more…)
According to the 2010 census data, about a quarter of the U.S. population resides in rural areas and about 65% of U.S. counties are designated as rural. Many people are drawn to the beautiful landscape, the slower pace, and the close-knit community experience. Many of these communities have thriving businesses, provide essential services, and have a rich family and historical heritage.
Yet, rural areas experience some health challenges that many in urban areas do not. Accessibility to health care is a tremendous issue and is affected by several factors. The number of primary care physicians in rural areas is low. Only 10% of physicians practice in rural areas and if a specialist is needed the access is even more difficult. And it’s not just a physician shortage but the number of non-physicians, such as dentists, nurses, pharmacists, mental health workers, and others is alarming low. Fewer health services in rural areas requires greater effort for those in rural areas to access care. Transportation, whether due to long distances or having an unreliable vehicle creates obstacles to chronic disease and preventive health appointments. Sometimes this also requires taking off work several hours or even whole days. Communities in rural areas also have a higher rate of older adults who tend to have more chronic conditions and there is a higher rate of poverty and fewer economic and educational opportunities. Many people are uninsured or under-insured and may not know about health issues and health insurance. Also, the small town charm that so many find attractive can also be a factor that limits people’s access to health information and to access to care. Many health issues such as mental health, chronic diseases (such as HIV), substance abuse, domestic violence, sexually transmitted diseases can make it difficult to seek help and treatment due to stigma and lack of anonymity. (more…)
As a part of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Administration’s Big Data Research and Development Initiative and to accelerate the emerging field of data science, NSF announced four awards last week, totaling more than $5 million, to establish four Big Data Regional Innovation Hubs (BD Hubs) across the nation. These new hubs (West, Midwest, South, and Northeast) are expected to accelerate the pace of discovery in science and engineering, strengthen national security, and fuel the growth and development of Smart Cities in the US. (more…)
iCite, a new tool from National Institutes of Health, helps users access a dashboard of bibliometrics for papers associated with a portfolio or articles from PubMed or Web of Science. Users can upload the PubMed IDs of articles of interest, specify years and article types, and toggle individual articles on and off. Then, iCite displays the number of articles, articles per year, citations per year, and a new metric called the Relative Citation Ratio (RCR). The RCR can help determine the extent to which NIH awardees maintain high or low levels of influence on their respective fields of research. The iCite tool contains data for papers published during 1995-2013, and only for those appearing in a journal indexed in theirs data sources (PubMed Central, European PubMed Central, CrossRef, or Web of Science). (more…)
National Native American Heritage Month (NNAHM) is a time to recognize the accomplishments of this country’s first inhabitants. As the early inhabitants of this great land, the native peoples of North America have their own tribal orientations, language origins, and cultural histories. Today, many healing techniques that are practiced have been adopted from traditions that originate from various Native American tribes. This year’s NNAHM theme, “Tribal Diversity: Weaving Together Our Traditions,” highlights spirituality as an inseparable element of healing in medicine. Healing the physical parts of a patient is not enough; one must acknowledge the importance of emotional wellness, as influenced by Native American rituals and traditions.
This month is dedicated to building new avenues of opportunity for Native Americans by making critical investments to improve health, to strengthen tribal communities, and to promote educational opportunities at the NIH. Maintaining an inclusive biomedical research workforce with a diversity of talent is critical to the NIH mission of fostering new discoveries and promoting the highest level of scientific integrity to improve our nation’s health. NNAHM allows the opportunity for every individual to learn more about the distinctive backgrounds and heritages of Native Americans. (more…)