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TB ETN Cultural Competency Workgroup Update

A new feature of each monthly TB ETN Cultural Competency Workgroup call is to highlight one of the many resources that are available, either on the Cultural Competency Resource list developed by the Workgroup or on a new resource that is relevant to the group. In November 2007, Beth Kingdon of Minnesota reviewed a website called Healthy Roads Media. This site contains information on many different health topics, including seven materials on current topics related to TB that have been translated into Arabic, French, Korean, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. The site is free and also has podcasts that can be downloaded for use on MP3 players.

On the December 2007 workgroup call, Margaret Rohter from Illinois described the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation website. The Foundation’s main website provides access to reports, fact sheets, surveys, and resources on minority health disparities and cultural competency. The site is geared towards policymakers, the media, and the general public. There are weekly reports on health disparities and the latest news, data, and information about HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria worldwide. International maps with global health facts are available to download as well as rights-free video footage. There is a wealth of information and resources that could be useful for World TB Day activities. The Foundation also provides weekly updates via an electronic mailing list.

Eva Moya from the US-Mexico border area of Texas presented the TB Photovoice Project in January 2008. Photovoice is a process by which people can identify and improve TB-related problems in their communities through a specific photographic technique. It entrusts cameras into the hands of people to enable them to act as recorders and potential catalysts for social action and change in their own communities. The mission of the project is to increase awareness of the global burden of TB and advocate for its elimination. The project began in 2004 and since then has identified four communities around the world where persons affected by TB are assisting in disseminating information about TB. Eva has personally been involved in the US-Mexico border project. Other communities supporting Photovoice include South Carolina; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; and the Thai-Vietnam border area. Photovoice uses the immediacy of the visual image and accompanying stories to promote an effective, participatory means of sharing expertise to raise awareness about TB.

Cultural Competency Tip:

The road to cultural competency is long; here are some suggested ways to begin. Berlin and Fowkes suggest the LEARN model guidelines:

  • Listen with sympathy and understanding to the patient's perception of the problem.
  • Explain your perceptions of the problem and your strategy for treatment.
  • Acknowledge and discuss the differences and similarities between these perceptions.
  • Recommend treatment while remembering the patient's cultural parameters.
  • Negotiate agreement. It is important to understand the patient's explanatory model so that medical treatment fits in their cultural framework.

Berlin EA, Fowkes WC. Teaching framework for cross-cultural care: Application in Family Practice. West J Med. 1983;139(6):934-938.

—Submitted by Margaret Rohter, MPH
Public Health Educator
TB Control
Cook County Department of Public Health

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