"Help me! Don’t Judge me!” – Lessons in Cultural Competency
According to the National Enhanced CLAS Standards Blueprint, individuals across the United States from various cultural backgrounds are unable to attain their highest level of health for several reasons, and the availability of health services (HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion [ODPHP], 2010a). Though health inequities are related to other factors, one of the most modifiable factors is the lack of culturally and linguistically appropriate services.
As reflected in the 2015 Broward County Behavioral Disparities Impact Statement report, youth and families lack access to culturally competent and individualized care. To address behavioral health disparities, youth and families scripted and acted in video skits based on real-life experiences that highlight incidences where the National Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Standards were not applied. All skits developed highlight the Principal CLAS Standard, as well as other Standards related to their experiences. The scripts for these skits were written by youth and families, for youth and families, and were reenacted in videos to make this multimedia tool available for all. These videos serve to both empower youth and family to advocate for equitable treatment when receiving services and educate our system of care for improvements in cultural competency.
The uniqueness of this project comes from portraying different real-life experiences related to instances where different CLAS Standards were not applied. All program participants, from the writers to actors, were youth and family volunteers. With some support, the volunteers dedicated their time to writing the scripts, to meet with the groups for feedback, and to schedule different meetings to film the videos.
All videos show how different CLAS Standards were not applied, followed by a slide educating audiences how the incident should have been addressed in a more culturally appropriate way. Although these situations were all very difficult times for the youth/family who lived through the incident, the actors were able to add some humor to dramatize the scenarios.
A graduate student from a local university was contracted to work with the youth and family on the filming and editing.
This program was developed with youth and families involved in OCP2 through a meeting in a focus group setting. The families and youth took the initiative to create a tool to address these disparities and inform our system of care for improvements in cultural competency. With the support of staff and consultants, the families and youth were able to develop the videos. OCP2 continuously seeks different speaking engagements for the participants involved to present this innovative tool educating providers and other families and youth locally and nationally on cultural competency.
OCP2 provided support to the youth and families from Federation of Families – Broward to attend and present the videos at the National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health Conference in Phoenix, Arizona last November. The videos will be presented in a discussion format at the Annual Behavioral Health Conference in Broward County, Florida.
OCP2 provides support and coaching to youth and families to be able to go out in the community and present these videos. OCP2 will work with them to develop talking points to facilitate discussions surrounding the disparities featured i the videos in order inform decision making for improvement in the different systems. The videos are available to all at no cost on YouTube.
OCP2 plans to continue working with other families from the Federation of Families Broward County, as well as other partner organizations, to develop other videos reflecting other service barriers related to cultural competency. The intent is to develop videos for all the CLAS Standards. Additional funds would allow the project to provide stipends to youth and families to alleviate some challenges they might have getting from one location to another which would help strengthen the youth and family voice in Broward County.
This innovative program identified cultural barriers to Broward County youth and families receiving services. As each communities are unique, this methodology (focus groups or personal interviews) can be replicated in other communities to identify barriers specific to their populations of focus.
One of the program’s goal is to educate our system of care for improvements in cultural competency. Therefore, we expect to increase audiences’ knowledge on the National Enhanced CLAS Standards in order to enhance the delivery of services to youth and families improving their outcomes.
The project will be regularly used an interactive training tool with a dialogue component facilitated by youth and families to the targeted audiences. In the first evaluation, results revealed that the strong majority of the participants felt that the information presented helped them learn more about cultural competency (79%). All the participants stated that the videos presented were very helpful (48%) or helpful (52%) in understanding more about the National CLAS Standards. Almost all the survey respondents (91.5%) agreed that the information presented helped them understand more about the role cultural competency plays in behavioral health services.
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