Engaging with African American youth following gunshot wound trauma: The Calhoun Cultural Competency Course
Calhoun, Tamara Latrice
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African American youth comprise one-third of the 17,300 victims annually impacted by gun violence (National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC, 2016). Injuries they sustain lead to extensive rehabilitation processes often overshadowed by the youths’ perceptions of discrimination and mistrust in medical staff, exacerbated by limitations in patient–provider communication and collaboration (Alston, Gayles, Rucker, &Hobson, 2007; Liebschutz et al., 2010). Healthcare staff often misinterpret youth gunshot survivors’ behavior and engagement efforts, labeling them noncompliant and implying they overexaggerate their pain. Overall, research suggests that African American patients do not have positive rehabilitation outcomes comparable to those of White patients (Suarez-Balcazar et al., 2009). Studies identify cultural competence, considered a best practice in healthcare professions, as a mitigating factor in this health disparity. The central aim of this doctoral project is to enhance patient–provider relationships to support optimal rehabilitation processes and outcomes and reduce this disparity. The Calhoun Cultural Competency Course (4C) was designed to address this urgent and profound problem according to a sound theoretical foundation and best evidence in cultural competency training. It is an online training on best practices for treating young African American gunshot-wound survivors. Course content and instruction methods were developed based on in-depth review of theories and evidence-based literature (Liebschutz et al., 2010; Teal, Gill, Green, & Crandall, 2012). Upon course completion, participants master skills necessary to provide care that is culturally sensitive, responsive, and appropriately tailored to these individuals’ needs, leading to more successful outcomes and community reintegration. The 4C program pilot is anticipated within 1 year of content completion. The program’s effectiveness in fostering change in participants’ cultural competency will be measured using a mixed-methods pre–post program evaluation design. First-year expenses include funding to support personnel during program-module development, create the online platform, and launch and evaluate the course pilot. The course moves forward in Year 3 with modifications and publishing pilot study results. Dissemination efforts will be written, electronic, and person-to-person methods with hopes of inspiring others to instill cultural competence training in their settings. Cultural competency training has potential to mitigate health disparities. The program described in this doctoral project aims to promote engagement of African American youth in rehabilitation following gunshot assault for better health and participation outcomes for them and their caretakers.
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