More than 400 nurses, students, physicians, and allied health professionals gathered in Detroit last fall for a two-day journey toward cultural competency. The National American Arab Nurses Association, formed in 2001, hosted its first convention, “Building Cultural Bridges in Health Care: Strength in Diversity,” Oct. 9 and 10 at the Detroit Marriott Renaissance Center.
“The convention was a culmination of years and months of vision, creativity, and hard work,” says NAANA founder and president Rose Khalifa, RN, BSN.
NAANA, which focuses primarily on Arab-American nurses, is an inclusive organization fostering knowledge of cultural diversity and sensitivity between members and the community in the area of transcultural healthcare.
The event was distinguished by NAANA’s unprecedented agreement with the National Arab-American Medical Association, which cosponsored the convention and will provide joint organization memberships.
Preparing for Population ShiftRose Khalifa, RN, BSN
Keynote speaker Kimberlydawn Wisdom, MD, Michigan’s first surgeon general and vice president of community health, education, and wellness for Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, reminded the audience that cultural competency is a lifelong journey, not a destination.
By 2042, the majority population in the United States will become the minority, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The dramatic changes in America’s population will produce a diversity of patients and healthcare workers.
“It is crucial that we know how to provide optimum care in a culturally competent way,” says Khalifa. To this end, the convention offered a wide spectrum of programs on transcultural nursing, cultural competence, workforce diversity, recruitment and retention of nurses, and other relevant topics.
Representatives from minority nursing associations, including the Philippine Nurses Association of America, the Hispanic Nurses Association, the National Black Nurses Association, and NAAMA presented breakout sessions related to these cultural groups.
Transcultural nursing expert Larry Purnell, RN, PhD, FAAN, professor of nursing at the University of Delaware, Newark, reviewed the criteria to determine whether an organization is culturally competent within its administration and governance, orientation and education, language, and staff competencies. Purnell posed questions, the answers to which serve as mirrors that reflect the degree of competency an organization possesses.
Dr. Gottfried Oosterwal, adjunct professor of global health in the School of Public Health at Loma Linda University in California, discussed micro-inequities, the subtle, sometimes subconscious, messages that devalue or demoralize an individual in the workplace.