Running Head: CULTURAL ASSESSMENT
The National Women’s Health Information Centre (NWHIC) provides health care services to women and girls across the United States. It was founded 19 years ago and it is a department under the U.S Department of Health and Human Services. The organization is mandated with the provision of health-related information touching on women and girl’s issues and it covers more than 800 cases. NWHIC ensured that information on key health issues to all the women of the U.S in order to ensure that they live healthy lives. The organization’s mission is to ensure that women and girls are healthier. It also aims to ensure that they have a better sense of well being. NWHIC’s organization’s mission is to improve the health of all women and girls during their lifespan. There are several National Standards on Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services [CLAS] that the organization is supposed to adhere to in order to ensure that health care services are provided in an appropriate manner.
The organization has managed to follow these CLAS and this has enabled it to avail health care-related education to women and girls across the country. The clients present a diverse cultural and linguistic characteristics and the management of the organization has been forced to have diversified workforce with an aim of meeting the different cultural needs of the clients. The workforce is made up of health care professionals from different races which reflect the face of the clients who also come from different races as well. Culture and language have been the greatest challenge to the organization since each culture has its unique set of needs. It also needs translators so as to effectively educate the clients, some of whom do not understand English. (Kaiser State Health Facts).
Description of the Organization
The National Women’s Health Information Centre (NWHIC) is a Health Information provider in the U.S which was formed in 1991. It operates under the Department of Health and Human Services in the U.S. The organization provides information touching on women and girl’s issues concerning over 800 cases. NWHIC offers information on special health issues like breastfeeding, menopause and hormone therapy, violence against women, mental health, pregnancy, body image and quitting smoking and, HIV and AIDS. The organization has a very ambitious mission which states that all women and girls are healthier and have a better sense of well being. The organization’s mission is to improve the health of all girls as well as women during their lifespan as dictated in its logo. It also aims to provide leadership and promote equity in terms of health for girls and women through approaches that are sex or gender-specific.
It is the desire of the organization to help their clients by changing agent who in this case are the health care seekers; women and girls on issues concerning their health through empowerment equipping with the required knowledge. It also aims render the services efficiently. The organization’s clients come from all over the country. All the females of the U.S are the clients of the health information provider.
The organization has a workforce that comprises of 71% male and 29% female physicians. These figures are based on a population count carried out in Texas whereby 41% of the total workforce without regard for gender was white, 6% Hispanic, 2% black and 8% Asians. This is a general picture of the country’s overall racial composition of the workforce although an estimated 40% are not accounted for as they did not tell they race at the time of collecting the data and the margin of error is negligible. The organization operates in divisions of ten districts spread across the country and the Texas branch operates under district number 6 with offices in Dallas, Texas. Besides these 10 divisions, it has its central office located in WashingtonD.C. (Kaiser State Health Facts).
Standards that are met
The organization meets the health care standards set by providing all the clients with health care information in an effective and respectful way in an understandable manner. The organization also ensures that cultural health beliefs and practices of the clients are taken care of. The clients are treated with respect and in a language they can understand in line with CLAS standards. The organization has diversity in its workforce as it recruits from people of all racial, cultural and linguistic backgrounds on the basis of qualification. The organization’s workforce comprises of a variety of professional physicians drawn from white, African, Asian as well as Hispanic employees (Medscape’s Continually Updated Clinical Reference, 2010).
. The racial, cultural and linguistic equation is well balanced within the organization. This is done with a view to taking care of its different types of clients and it is a major consideration while recruiting the workforce. The U.S community is well represented in the organization with people of all cultures and linguistic backgrounds taking place in top leadership and as a result people from different cultures and linguistic backgrounds are easily attended to. This is done in line with the fact that no language or culture is more important than the other and every one should be included.
From the director and the deputy director to the ten divisional coordinators, heath care consultation services are effectively provided and feedback is relayed through the well coordinated organizational structure, from the director to the divisional coordinator to the director in Washington and back to the coordinator. The organization ensures efficient quality service to women and girls through its two operational divisions; the division of program coordinating and the division of outreach and collaboration. The en regional women’s heath coordinators are resident in each of the ten divisional offices across the country and are mandated to serve the women as well as the girls who are the clients of the organization with dedication and effectiveness using state public initiatives as well as local public health initiatives.
The English speaking clients who are the majority are served in English while the Spanish-speaking Hispanics are served in their own language, Spanish. The cultural differences are taken care of in serving them and caution is exercised not to offend any client by using inappropriate language, gesture or any other action that may be a violation to the cultural practices of the client. The organization has succeeded in developing as well as the implementing model initiatives that are aimed at addressing the health care needs for women of different cultures, ages, races as well as ethnic groups. The organization has succeeded in doing through their initiative of funding its various programs across the United States. This has enabled NWHIC to create a comprehensive as well as culturally appropriate prevention and education services to the women and girls. The organization has consistently maintained their target of attending to the health issues of the women throughout their lives. The organization’s contractors and grantees have always strived to develop as well as integrate practices that are culturally appropriate as well as lessons in medical education coupled with community outreach efforts.
The organization takes into account health disparities by keeping statistics of the differences in race as well as ethnic populations in terms of ratio across each of the fifty states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. The key areas that are concerned with health disparities among the populations are highlighted to assist program managers and policy makers in identifying the areas with major health disparities per state. The organization is very sensitive to the differences that exist in terms of languages and as such they publish their journals and other informative magazines in the three most languages used in the U.S; English, Spanish and Chinese so that they can meet the cultural and linguistic differences of their staff as well as clients. Their awareness campaigns to the women and girls to sensitize them on issues touching on heir health are done in the three languages so as to ensure the linguistic requirements of very stake holder are met (U.S Department of Health and Human Services 2010).
A high value is placed on diversity for staff, partners as well as programs. It is incumbent upon the management that it is through their differences that their organization is a forum in which expression takes place alongside consideration as well as evaluation of ideas. NWHIC is fully aware that it is through the diversity of different ideas and its linguistically and culturally diverse staff who undertake the review of these ideas that learning is enriched as ell as strengthened. It emphasizes a culture of accountability whereby the staff adheres to ethical conduct and transparency in their communications and actions. The management is supportive of staff. It is accountable in terms of upholding office procedures that have been established. A culture of self-respect and respect for other worker’s dignity is highly upheld. Employees respect and also support their leadership. The leadership in turn values, respects and supports the staff (U.S Department of Health and Human Services, 2010).
The organization has been taking care of the marginalized ethnic groups of women through prioritizing their needs. NWHIC ensures that its health care professionals adhere to its standards of applying unbiased as well as evidence-based combined with culturally specific knowledge. The organization is very keen on the health care needs of the aged. The professionals have a specific program specifically for meeting the needs of the aging population. The organization achieves this through educating its health care professionals on the ways in which to handle the aged as they obviously can not be handled the same way as the younger clients. NWHIC has been working on a program for culture change in order to support several choices for wellness to effectively address the different health awareness needs for their culturally diverse clients. The organization emphasizes cultural competence as a core value in communicating as well as in its relation to communities in order to achieve its goal of providing health literacy using many channels. Language translation and the methods of communication is a priority for the organization in a bid to reach all their clients in a language they can understand better, for example translation from English into Spanish and Chinese, which are the two most used languages after English. The learning materials are therefore translated from the source material which is English into Spanish and Chinese to reach a wider audience and to be understood better without disadvantaging any of the groups due to language barrier. Communication standards that the organization uses are checked to ensure effectiveness. Translation is useful for the employees to be able to work effectively because some of them are not English speakers.
The organization adheres to CLAS standards requirements in an effort to ensure efficient service delivery to its clients across the United States. The staff is adequately equipped with translated material to make sure that they reach the target population while taking care of their cultural and linguistic differences. The availability of educational material in the three most used languages is an assurance that the efforts of the organization in educating women and girls about health care are a success. Cultural differences have been taken care of as well. The workforce reflects diversity in its racial composition. All races are considered for employment in order to ensure cultural diversity. Cultural diversity is essential for service delivery as conflicts arising from differences are minimized or completely eliminated altogether.
Standards that are partially met or not met.
The organization still has a lot of work to do in order to provide verbal translation to clients who do not understand the language of the source material in an effort to meet the requirements of CLAS standards. Translation and interpretation should go together because not all the clients are able to read and understand what is contained in a printed text. This is brought about by cultural differences (Medscape’s Continually Updated Clinical Reference, 2010). The old women are not very keen on following written text and as such they should be given the opportunity being educated in verbal form so that they can understand better. The workforce should be taken through regular courses to update them on cultural and linguistic needs of the clients (Garber & Garber 2008).
Recommendations for improving standards that are met
The organization should also improve on the provision of understood patient-related materials as well post signage in the languages that are mostly used by the groups that are commonly encountered s and those that are represented in the service area. It also should ensure an accurate and current assessment of demographic, cultural as well as epidemiological profile in order to improve its response to the community’s cultural and linguistic needs. The organization has not been very keen on this very important CLAS standards requirement and efforts should be made to ensure that the health care professionals reach all the women and girls in all regions of the country (The American Journal of Managed Care, 2010). Migration trends change very often in the U.S and as such up-to-date demographic records are needed in order to know which areas need the cultural and linguistic aspects of the different regions (Health care in America). Immigrants are constantly crossing into the country and the workforce should be armed with updated reports to effectively reach the cultural and linguistic requirements all the target groups.
The organization needs put more emphasis on developing partnerships with communities by making use of the available mechanisms both formal and informal with a view to ensuring the involvement of the community and consumers in the process of designing as well as implementing the activities related with CLAS (U.S Department of Health and Human Services, 2001). The management should appreciate the need for an appropriate conflict resolution mechanism. Conflicts that are related to cultural and linguistic differences arise every day and this requires an effective body to deal with these issues so that the do not interfere with service delivery (Thomas & Adam, 2010).
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