Surgery’s 2017 Cross-Cultural Health Care Conference draws 150 attendees from six countries
Pictured: Health Sciences leaders Mokuau, Boland, Braun and Hedges
By Dr. Maria Chun, Department of Surgery
On February 17-18, 2017, the UHM Department of Surgery, John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) held its 5th Cross-Cultural Health Care Conference at the Ala Moana Hotel. Among the more than 150 attendees and presenters were international guests from Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, and the UK, as well as those representing a number of U.S. states (Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington). We were also pleased to have neighbor island guests from Molokaʻi join us. This biennial event maintained its theme of Collaborative and Multidisciplinary Interventions by featuring speakers from a variety of disciplines: medicine, social work, nursing, and public health. The “panel of Deans” from the University of Hawaiʻi College of Health Sciences and Social Welfare exemplified these efforts by discussing how their respective schools and programs have partnered on a number of efforts, such as RMATRIX, which provides research infrastructure and support to investigators. The deans include JABSOM Dean Jerris Hedges, Myron Thompson School of Social Work Dean Noreen Mokuau, Nursing and Dental Hygiene Dean Mary Boland, and Office of Public Health Sciences Chair Kathryn Braun.
“Cultural Diversity Toolkit”
A special highlight of the conference was the opening general session speakers on each day of the conference: Dr. Adil Haider, M.D., MPH, FACS, Kessler Director for the Center for Surgery and Public Health, a joint initiative of Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Dr. Amelia Grover, M.D., FACS, Chair-Elect for the American College of Surgeons Committee on Diversity Issues. Dr. Haider discussed how cultural issues are now being more readily recognized by surgery and are now becoming a more common part of residency training. Specifically, he shared the Provider Awareness and Cultural Dexterity Toolkit for Surgeons (PACTS), which is an effort to develop a standardized cultural training program for surgical residents to enhance their ability to provide better care for their patients. Dr. Grover’s presentation focused on diversity issues facing the surgical workforce with regard to recruitment and retention. She discussed difficulties faced by women and racial/ethnic minorities and how they can and have been addressed.
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We were also fortunate to have return guest speakers Dr. Joseph Betancourt and Dr. Alexander Green provide updates of their work. Ms. Julia Puebla Fortier came all the way from Kobe, Japan, to share her work with migrants and refugees. She also oversees DiversityRx, which “is a clearinghouse of information on how to meet the language and cultural needs of minorities, immigrants, refugees, and other diverse populations seeking health care.”
Conference co-founder and committee co-chair, Dr. Danny Takanishi, Jr., M.D., FACS shared his expertise on professionalism and how it relates to cultural competency along with his co-presenter Dr. William Fong, who is faculty in the UHM JABSOM Department of OB/GYN. Additionally, we had faculty from the UHM JABSOM Department of Native Hawaiian Health, such as Department Chair, Dr. Keawe Kaholokula, and Dr. Neal Palafox from the UHM JABSOM Department of Family Medicine and Community Health speak on topics that addressed healthcare disparities and social justice issues.
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For more information on the conference, please visit cchc-conference.com.