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Diversity and Cultural Competency Day set for March 21 at Shepherd

ISSUED: 13 March 2013
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens
(Diversity and Cultural Competency Day set for March 21 at Shepherd)

Shepherdstown, WV--Shepherd University will host the second annual Diversity and Cultural Competence Seminar on campus Thursday, March 21.

"Engage to Inspire: Increasing Cultural Competence to Decrease Health Disparities" is intended to increase awareness of the need for sensitivity to diversity and cultural competence to inter-professionally decrease health disparities and understand community needs, said Heidi Moore, social support specialist in the nursing education department at Shepherd.

"It's something we constantly have to learn and work on, especially as our communities evolve and change and become more diverse," she said.

Three segments are planned. First, Dr. Thomas Segar, vice president for student affairs at Shepherd, will lead a workshop examining what steps faculty, staff, and students can take to become more culturally sensitive and competent at 8:30 a.m. in the multipurpose room of the Wellness Center.

"During this workshop we will focus on how to translate awareness into specific actions that demonstrate cultural competence," he said.

The keynote address by Dr. Thomas LaVeist follows at 11 a.m. in the Butcher Center and is open to the public. LaVeist is the William C. and Nancy F. Richardson Professor in Health Policy and director of the Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. He will discuss how health disparities are impacting the state and what local providers and community members can do to diminish them.

Finally, Dr. Michael Groves, visiting assistant professor of nursing education at Shepherd, will lead a workshop for nursing and pre-nursing students at 2 p.m. in the Frank Center Theater. Groves will talk about health disparities and how the Affordable Care Act affects nurses and patients.

"As a department we see the importance of ultimately educating our students in their clinical skills and being able to be effective nurses, but also to be an effective nurse you have to be culturally competent and sensitive to the needs of all people," said Moore.

"This is an opportunity to continue the journey toward cultural competence for the Shepherd University campus and our community partners," she said.

The seminar is made possible by a Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Nursing Workforce Diversity federal grant.

"The funding from this HRSA grant is allowing Shepherd's Department of Nursing to further our aims to increase nursing education opportunities for individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds with the ultimate goal of improving healthcare quality and reducing health disparities by increasing nursing workforce diversity in the area. Having students participate in events like this heightens their awareness to issues that may impede a patient's recovery or reasons for their not getting access to care and provides an opportunity for them to dialogue about interventions," said Dr. Sharon Mailey, chair of the nursing education department at Shepherd and grant director.

"This three-pronged approach to health disparities--Dr. Segar engaging the campus community, Dr. LaVeist embracing the broad picture, and Dr. Grove's focus on the nurse's role with health care and the Affordable Care Act--will produce nurses better prepared to work in an inter-professional environment to bring change," she said.

The Department of Nursing Education, Division of Student Affairs, Multicultural Student Affairs, and Diversity and Equity Committee are sponsoring the event.

For more information, contact Moore at 304-876-5789 or hmoore@shepherd.edu or visit http://www.shepherd.edu/safweb/specialevents/default.html.

-30-WILKIE

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