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Practicing health professions with cultural humility

September 17, 2020

Dear College of Health Sciences community,

Our goal is to create a safe, inclusive environment for all—one from which each of our students emerge as leaders in health care who practice with compassion and cultural humility.
In June, we made a commitment to implement systemic and sustainable changes in the pursuit of justice, equity, and inclusivity both inside and outside our walls. This promise began with an inventory of each program’s curriculum to ensure the intentional inclusion of essential content related to diversity and the development of cultural humility and intercultural competency.
Research shows students learn best and are more motivated when curriculums reflect their culture, experiences, and perspectives. It’s also important for this content to naturally flow within our course framework to provide students with a rich and equitable educational experience.
Some of the questions we’re asking are:

  1. Do our courses have specific objectives about cultural competence, cultural humility, diversity, and equity?
  2. How do our programs as a whole address cultural competence within the curriculum and what gaps exist?
  3. At what level are our students learning about cultural competence?

The third question is significant for every member of our community and challenges us to consider how we’re engaging with different perspectives. It’s not enough to simply integrate new concepts—we must be moved to action, advocacy, and a deeper understanding and awareness of each other to truly transform our culture from the inside out.
We will continue to further develop a curricular context for multicultural content that is shared across faculty by enhancing our knowledge of where and how multicultural content is included in the curriculum (and at what level); communicate to students connections of assignments with previous our upcoming courses/assignments; and sequentially build students multicultural skills, knowledge, and values.
Our vision is for every member of the College of Health Sciences community to engage as both a learner and critical thinker—recognizing cultural competency is an ongoing commitment we will likely carry out for the rest of our lives. Our faculty, staff, and administration will continue to examine their own cultural aptitude and find areas of improvement and growth.
I hope you will join me on this journey. Change begins with us—united—and ready to seek holistic solutions to become a better, more just, and equitable college.

Best regards,

Scott Lephart