Subtle forms of racism and discrimination impede access to health care and the quality of health care received by visible minorities - This is one of the main conclusions of the Transcultural Health Conference organized in part by The Montreal Children's Hospital of the MUHC

    MONTREAL, Feb. 12 /CNW Telbec/ - Health care providers and administrators
need to recognize and work to counter-act subtle forms of racism and
discrimination inherent in health care in order to make access to care and the
quality of care better for members of cultural communities. This is one of the
conclusions of the May 2007 Transcultural Health Conference organized by The
Montreal Children's Hospital of the MUHC in collaboration with national
partners. Over two hundred participants including healthcare practitioners,
educators, community workers, administrators and policy makes attended the
two-day national conference entitled "Advancing Knowledge, Strategy and
Connectedness in Healthcare Across Cultures."
    "The conference emphasized, among others, our need to be patient and work
on specific ideas an individual may have about our healthcare system by
acknowledging contradictions in a non-confrontational manner, " says Dr. Klaus
Minde, co-chair of the conference and a psychiatrist at The Montreal
Children's Hospital.
    The goal of the conference was to identify effective ways of providing
health care across cultures, discuss national priorities and develop
strategies to guide and support networks of diversity and intercultural
expertise. During roundtable discussions on five key themes resulted in the
recommendations that emphasize the need for a focused investment in "diversity
education" thereby promoting the following actions:

    1. Raising racism awareness and the development of anti-racist policies
       and practices
    2. Providing diversity education on multileveled and multisectorial
       basis, educating healthcare administrators, clinicians and clerical
       personnel. Education should be extended to the employment and
       education sectors where similar issues apply.
    3. Ensuring representation of cultural communities in research through
       exploration of cultural practices, interpretation and compensation.
    4. Practicing cultural safety and participatory approaches in clinical
       encounters to enhance understanding on both sides and compliance in
       healthcare treatment.
    5. Development of accreditation and professional standards in cultural
       competence. This means mandatory courses with practice in cross-
       cultural intervention and periodic evaluation.
    6. Creation of a national Diversity Network with local satellites for
       consultation, research, lobbying and information exchange.

    All of the above require the use and integration of interpreters and
culture-brokers, as well as the development of accreditation and professional
interpretation standards.
    These discussions highlight the complexities in integrating newcomers and
minorities into healthcare and other mainstream systems," says Marie
Serdynska, coordinator of the MCH Multiculturalism Program. "Barriers are
created by our professional codes and ways of operating that we see as
universal but can in fact be ethnocentric."
    Cultural diversity challenges our assumption that one model of clinical
service is sufficient to meet the needs of all patients. We need to develop
innovative approaches that respect each person's individuality along with
their ties to family and community," says Dr. Laurence Kirmayer, Presiding
Chair of Conference.
    The final report and recommendations from the National Transcultural
Health Conference can be found on the MCH website

    The Multiculturalism Program of The Montreal Children's Hospital (MCH) of
the MUHC and national partners organized Canada's first National Transcultural
Health Conference: The event was held in recognition of the 20th anniversary
of the MCH's Multiculturalism Program. The MCH was the first Canadian
pediatric hospital to establish a multiculturalism program and continues to
emphasize "respect for diversity" with plans to expand and harmonize existing

For further information:

For further information: Lisa Dutton, Manager, Public Relations and
Communications, The Montreal Children's Hospital of the MUHC, (514) 412-4307

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