A patient does not come to you as a blank slate. Neither do you arrive at work each day as a blank slate. We each bring our own customs, beliefs, and values to every interaction we have. Culture influences our patients’ perspectives on oral health, oral healthcare practices, and preferences for communicating with oral healthcare providers. Each person’s different cultural background and life experiences can lead to unconscious bias, which often impacts clinical decisions and quality of care. Since we all have biases, this session will help you self-assess and manage your bias during interactions with others. This invaluable skill benefits individuals and organizations by helping them become self-aware global citizens equipped with actionable insights into cultural diversity, personal biases, and systemic biases which are present in societal and organizational practices, processes, and policies. As health care providers, culture may also influence how you communicate with and deliver care to patients. Getting to know your own and your patient’s cultural identity will help you communicate effectively and build a respectful, trustworthy connection to patients. Practicing cultural competency and cultural humility are key strategies for understanding, respecting, and responding to patients’ needs and preferences. Meeting each patient’s unique needs is a critical way to deliver high quality care and advance oral health equity. This presentation will cover how and why to practice cultural competency and cultural humility. It will present topics such as self-awareness of beliefs, bias, and stereotypes; how to combat bias and stereotyping; and getting to know a patient’s cultural identity. Participants will learn strategies for providing respectful, high quality oral healthcare. In conclusion, the session will share a free and accredited e-learning program for oral health providers developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health, called the Cultural Competency Program for Oral Health Professionals.
• Objective 1: Describe the principles of cultural competency and cultural humility.
• Objective 2: Describe how cultural competency and cultural humility can improve quality of care.
• Objective 3: Describe strategies for combating implicit bias and stereotyping.
• Objective 4: Assess own background and identities to interact more authentically with colleagues, patients, and the community at large.
• Objective 5: Establish acceptance and respect for all identities by reflecting on and explaining the importance of inclusion.
• Objective 6: Practice confidence to engage in conversations surrounding diversity and inclusion.
Jennifer Kenyon has served for 13 years on the project team for Think Cultural Health (TCH), an HHS Office of Minority Health website that houses educational programs and resources for health professionals about culturally and linguistically appropriate services. Ms. Kenyon leads the content development for TCH’s suite of eight e-learning programs. Ms. Kenyon is passionate about health equity, structural & social determinants of health, and health communication.
Magda A. de la Torre, Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Comprehensive Dentistry, received both her certificate and bachelor’s degrees as a Registered Dental Hygienist from UTHSCSA and her Master’s in Public Health from Texas A&M University, School of Rural Public Health with concentrations in both Health Policy & Management and Social & Behavioral Health. A dental professional for 34 years, she has dedicated 16 years in Higher Education.
As a member of the faculty at UTHSCSA, she was awarded the Presidential Teaching Excellence Award given by the University to faculty members demonstrating excellence in teaching and promoting student learning and overall dedication to teaching. Prof. de la Torre has also received the Spectrum Award for Excellence and Leadership in Teaching, Research, and Service given by the School of Health Professions. She was inducted into the Academy of Master Teachers and was named one of Latina Style Magazine’s, “Brilliant Latinas in Health Care”.
Ms. de la Torre has authored journal articles and textbook chapters. She has been an invited keynote speaker at Marquette and Loma Linda University. Her areas of expertise include Behavioral Health, Cultural Competency, Health Literacy, and Service-Learning.
Her varied career includes providing care for children of migrant farmworkers while working for the State of Colorado and as a Project Officer at HRSA. She is one of three principal investigators for the Texas Workforce grant and Co-Investigator for the Post-Doctoral Training grant and the Co-Director of the DENT ECHO Telehealth Webinars.
She has served as a leader in several national organizations, a member of the American Public Health Association (APHA), she has been editor of APHA’s Oral Health Section newsletter, elected to the Section Council and Governing Council. Also, has served on the Board of Trustees for the National Hispanic Dental Association and recently elected as a Board Member of the Texas Oral Health Coalition. Previously she was appointed as the National Head Start Oral Health Consultant for Native American and Migrant children and is currently the Caribbean Consultant of the Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors.
Magda co-directs the course for first, second and fourth year dental students. In addition, she works with post-doctoral dental students in their dental public health residency.