Healthcare disparities are persistent, pervasive, and disproportionately affect racial and ethnic minority communities. Cross-cultural education in the training of health professionals as well as institutional policies and infrastructure that address the needs of racial, ethnic, and other underserved populations are critical to equitable care. Likewise, culturally competent healthcare organizations and services can have a powerful impact on increasing the equity of care for racial and ethnic minorities to ultimately reduce health disparities.
The aims of the proposed Phase I research and development effort are to: 1) develop the components of a prototype for a research-based, computer-assisted cross-cultural and linguistic competency assessment and action planning toolkit that will help health organizations increase their capacity to better meet the needs of racial and ethnic minorities;and 2) test the content of the prototype and the feasibility of its implementation to prepare for the development of the complete toolkit in Phase II. Approximately 30 staff members from five health-related organizations and 24 health consumers who represent the diverse racial and ethnic groups the organizations serve will participate in focus groups. Key themes from the focus groups will help inform the refinement of assessment questions and scenarios based on situations that health consumers and providers encounter. Staff from the five organizations will pilot the prototype and participate in a webinar to discuss the components and utility of toolkit a well as ease of use, limitations, and recommendations for the design of the complete program. Item analyses will be used to examine the organizational cross-cultural and linguistic competency factors and identify clusters of organizations at various stages of cross-cultural and linguistic competency readiness and development.
The aims of the proposed research are consistent with the mission of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to apply knowledge to enhance health and life and its goal to foster fundamental creative discoveries, innovative research strategies, and their applications as a basis for protecting and improving health. The proposed product will advance the mission of the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD) to promote minority health and support efforts to reduce health disparities and NIMHD's interests in interventions and translational research that address cultural competency and social determinants of health.

Public Health Relevance

Disparities in health access, utilization, care, and outcomes continue to affect racial and ethnic minorities and other underserved populations in the United States. One strategy for reducing healthcare disparities is improving health organizations'cross-cultural and linguistic competency;cross-culturally and linguistically competent healthcare organizations and services can have a powerful impact on increasing the equity of care for racial and ethnic minorities. The proposed computerized assessment and action planning toolkit will give organizations that provide healthcare services an affordable and comprehensive option for assessing and working to improve their cross-cultural and linguistic competency. The product will enable health-related organizations to establish a system and engage in a continuous process that will provide personalized feedback to guide their cross-cultural and linguistic competency development and ensure that all of the people they serve have equal access to health care.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD)
Small Business Innovation Research Grants (SBIR) - Phase I (R43)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-RPHB-C (10))
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Rajapakse, Nishadi
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