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Sept. 30, 2004

 

ADVISORY
Experts available to discuss diversity in health care work force

ANN ARBOR, Mich.—The U.S. Census Bureau recently reported that Asian and Hispanic populations in the U.S. are growing at a faster rate than the country’s overall population.

Some researchers worry that if the medical care community does not reflect America’s current diversity, doctors and nurses risk language barriers and cultural misunderstandings, while medical researchers might not ask important questions about underrepresented groups.

University of Michigan faculty members who can speak to health care work force diversity include:

• Lisa Tedesco, professor of dentistry, participated in the Institute of Medicine committee that recently issued a report, “In the Nation’s Compelling Interest: Ensuring Diversity in the Health Care Workforce.” The IoM committee looked at barriers preventing under-represented minorities from entering health care fields, and how they can be overcome. The preface to the report directly ties the committee’s work to the questions raised by last year’s Supreme Court cases examining affirmative action efforts in U-M’s undergraduate and Law School admissions processes. The IoM recommendations informed this month’s Sullivan Commission Report on diversity in the health care professions: www.sullivancommission.org/ Tedesco, vice president and secretary of U-M, can be reached at (734) 763-5553 or ltedesco@umich.edu

• Antonia Villarruel , associate professor of nursing, is a former president of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses. She has been a leader in developing policy recommendations to increase diversity in nursing education and practice, and is involved in mentoring minority students from high school through post-doctoral levels. Villarruel was co-chair of the Diversity Working Group of the National Advisory Council for Nursing Education and Practice, for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She was listed in the June issue of Hispanic Magazine as one of the Leading Latinas in Health Care. She can be reached at (734) 615-9696 or avillarr@umich.eduFor more on Villarruel: www.nursing.umich.edu/faculty/villarruel_antonia.html

SeonAe Yeo, associate professor of nursing and of family medicine, is one of the founders of the Japanese Health Program in Ann Arbor, which will mark its 10 th anniversary in October. Yeo, president of the Asian American Pacific Islander Nurses Association, wrote a chapter titled “Language Barrier and Access to Care” in the recent Annual Review of Nursing Research. She said the many different Asian languages and cultures create a significant challenge even for those focused on Asian health. She can be reached at (734) 647-0147 or   seonaeyo@umich.eduFor more information on Yeo, visit:  http://www.nursing.umich.edu/faculty/yeo_seonae.html  

Deborah Childs is interim human resources director at the U-M Health System. The Health System has taken strategic measures during the past decade to respond to a growing multi-cultural patient population and an increasingly diverse workforce.   These comprehensive strategies were developed to support the delivery of culturally sensitive patient care in an environment where employees feel valued and respected for their personal diversity. Strategies include cultural competency training for faculty and staff, comprehensive interpreter services, improved conflict resolution processes and youth mentoring. Childs can be reached at (734) 936-9525. For more information on UMHS Diversity: http://www.med.umich.edu/diversity

For more information on Census race data: http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/race/001839.html

Contact: Colleen Newvine
Phone: (734) 647-4411
E-mail:cnewvine@umich.edu