Healthcare expert from USA stresses importance of cultural sensitivity in patient care
Healthcare systems need to be able to provide care to patients with diverse values, beliefs and behaviors, including tailoring delivery of care to meet patients’ social, cultural and linguistic needs, according to a visiting health expert.
Dr. Robert Like, Professor and Director of the Center for Healthy Families and Cultural Diversity, Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in the US, made the comments at a lecture organized jointly by Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Medical Education Department and Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar’s (WCMC-Q) Department of Global and Public Health.
During the lecture, Dr. Like discussed the importance of healthcare policy, legislative, accreditation, and professional initiatives in addressing the disparities in providing culturally competent services to increasingly diverse populations. “Transforming our healthcare organizations and educating leadership and the workforce about the provision of high quality, patient-centered, culturally responsive and effective care is critically needed to help reduce disparities and foster health equity,” he explained.
“HMC is growing dramatically. The quality of its services is increasing in many specialty areas, and HMC is serving a growing and diverse population,” Dr. Like said, referring to the influx of large numbers of expatriates.
There are approximately 190 languages currently spoken in Qatar. As the primary healthcare provider in the country, HMC cares for thousands of patients comprising Qatar’s multicultural and diverse population on a daily basis.
“Among the encouraging things that I saw during my visit to HMC was the development of the interpreter and language services, which will really help patients to better understand their medical problems and adhere to the treatment regimen as advised. This will lead to improved patient outcomes. I am hoping that the information we shared through our talk can further enhance what HMC is already doing,” said Dr. Like. He emphasized that culturally competent care can help reduce patient anxiety and feelings of isolation.
Dr. Like was joined by Dr. Jeffrey Ring, Director of Behavioral Sciences and Cultural Medicine at White Memorial Medical Center in the USA. Both were welcomed to HMC by Dr. Abdullatif Al Khal, Deputy Chief of Staff for Medical, Research & Academic Affairs – Medical Education. In their meeting with Dr Al Khal, Dr. Ring and Dr. Like discussed the significance of patient-centered care and the value of training healthcare practitioners in this area.
“Dr. Robert Like is nationally known in US for his work in the area of cultural competency and health professions education,” said Ms. Maha Elnashar, Director of the Center for Cultural Competence in Healthcare, Department of Global and Public Health at WCMC-Q. “He is actively involved in developing continuing medical education programs and provides training and technical assistance relating to the delivery of patient-centered, culturally responsive care to diverse populations.
“Dr. Jeffrey Ring has been working in the area of culturally responsive health and mental health for twenty years. He is the lead author of Curriculum for Culturally Responsive Medical Care: A Step-By Step Guide for Cultural Competence Training. Both are distinguished experts in their fields and have established many unique initiatives to achieve equity and quality in healthcare,” she added.
Commenting on the two experts’ visit to WCMC-Q and HMC, Dr. Ravinder Mamtani, Associate Dean, Global and Public Health at WCMC-Q said, “We very much appreciate the seminars presented by Dr. Like and Dr. Ring. We hope to continue our dialogue with them on projects of mutual interest.”
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