Advancing Cultural Competence in the Public Health and Healthcare Workforce
Advancing Cultural Competence is advancing the field of cultural competency by offering the first structural competency certificate program in the country. In a nutshell, structural competency introduces the social determinants of health and reflection about the culture of medicine and related issues into cultural competency discussions. For more specific information on the approach, see the short webinar below or the description at the bottom of this page.
This FREE online program offers free continuing education credits and free certificates of completion for the American Indian, Latino/a, African American/Black, and Asian American populations in New York State. Each certificate series contains four webinars on issues specific to that population.
What People are Saying about Advancing Cultural Competence
"An emerging concept."
"A paradigm shift in how I look at competency."
"More effective approach than what is commonly called cultural competency."
"Clear, personal, multidisciplinary"
"Strategies shared are useful and meaningful."
"So riveting. The presenter's discussion was very thoughtful yet it was easy to grasp the concepts she was presenting."
"Speakers were very knowledgeable and it's great that their own personal experience guides their work. Excellent!"
"Historical context was incredibly helpful and I look forward to that in future webinars".
Watch a 9-minute webinar on structural competency and the certificate program.
More on the Free Advancing Cultural Competence Certificate Program
Each certificate series consists of four webinars. To earn a certificate, you will need to watch all four along with two prerequisite courses on cultural and structural competency.
Each certificate series covers these four “beats,” or themes:
Historical frames of oppression
Present day sociopolitical barriers and challenges to health
Engagement with activist and advocates within the community around health
If you earn all of the series certificates you may also obtain a certificate of completion for the entire Advancing Cultural Competence program.
Please note that we have created the sets of webinars to be watched as a series; if you cherry pick the individual webinars you will not obtain a complete understanding of structural competency or a complete understanding of the structural issues affecting the health of each population. Since the continuing education credits and the certificates are all FREE, why not take them all?
More on Structural Competency
Structural competency refers to the capacity of practitioners to recognize and respond to the ways in which broad social, political and economic structures contribute to the vulnerability and ill health of the individuals and communities we serve.
The move toward structural competency marks a shift in cultural competency training away from focusing only on individual cross-cultural understandings toward an emphasis on the larger forces that affect the health of vulnerable populations, while not discounting cultural factors that impact health.
We have designed this certificate series around an influential article on structural competency by Jonathan Metzl and Helena Hansen, both physicians and cultural critics. This program uses their definition of structural competency: the “trained ability to discern how a host of issues defined clinically as symptoms, attitudes or diseases (e.g. depression, hypertension, obesity, smoking, medication “non-compliance,” trauma, psychosis) also represent the downstream implications of a number of upstream decisions about such matters as health care and food delivery systems, zoning laws, urban and rural infrastructures, medicalization, or even about the very definitions of illness and health” (Metzl and Hansen 2013). Members of the public health workforce will recognize these issues as the social determinants of health.
Structural competency includes elements of self-reflection, now common in cultural competency trainings, while it promotes narrative humility and critical thinking about the culture of medicine itself.
Narrative Humility and Structural Competency
Humility is integral to structural competency, since it requires practitioners develop the skills necessary to truly listen to their patients and determine the impact of those stories on their health.
We have adopted the term, “narrative humility,” as coined by pediatrician Dr. Sayantani DasGupta, who teaches in Columbia University’s Narrative Medicine program and developed the introductory webinar on structural competency. Dr. DasGupta he coined the term after recognizing that all stories have an element of the unknowable, and that some stories are heard and others are silenced or marginalized in hospitals and other institutions.
Dr. DasGupta advocates that we adopt narrative humility towards everyone walking through our doors, not just those who are “others” in relation to ourselves.
For more information on structural competence and related topics, see the Resources tab.
Funding for this project was supplied by a grant from the New York State Department of Health.
This page is for enrolling in the webinars archived in the NYS Department of Health’s Learning Management System (LMS) and for obtaining a certificate after you have completed all of the requirements.
The courses for the American Indian and Latino/a series have been archived in the LMS. The two pre-requisite courses and the webinars presented in February and March of 2016 are available directly on our website under the Course Descriptions tab.