UofL event prepares future health professionals to improve health equity

    10th Patricia Allen Cultural Competency Day for HSC students and other health professionals

    The 10th annual Cultural Competency Day held Nov. 10

    LOUISVILLE, Ky., — Among the most important issues facing health care are social barriers to care. To ensure future health professionals are equipped with the understanding to reduce health inequities, the University of Louisville Health Sciences Center Office of Diversity and Inclusion held its 10th annual Patricia Allen Cultural Competency Day on Tuesday, November 10. Nearly 700 students participated in “Health Equity through Interprofessional Practice,” a day-long workshop that included discussions on Poverty and Accessing Health Care, LGBT Health, Immigrant and Refugee Populations and Cultural Barriers in Health Care.

    Students from UofL Schools of Medicine, Nursing, Dentistry, Public Health and Kent School of Social Work, as well as the Sullivan University School of Pharmacy and nurses with Passport Health Plan took part in the program, held at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage (KCAAH).

    Vivian Lasley-Bibbs, the acting director for the Office of Health Equity in the Kentucky Department for Public Health, opened the event with a keynote address on the increasing racial, ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity in the American population and the need for health-care practitioners to understand the socio-cultural background of their patients in order to deliver high quality health care.

    “This is the 10th year for this conference reflecting the Health Sciences Center’s commitment to health equity for all. In addition to this important milestone, the program has expanded to include almost 700 students from multiple health disciplines,” said V. Faye Jones, M.D., Ph.D., assistant vice president for health affairs – diversity initiatives. “We all have a role in achieving health equity, and this year’s program allows students to learn with and from each other in the community setting of the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage.”

    Attendees were assigned to interprofessional teams that rotated together among 75-minute breakout sessions covering each topic. This format, which differs from previous years, ensured that all attendees were exposed to each topic and accommodated the larger number of participants. The interprofessional teams, which mixed students and residents from dentistry, speech pathology, pharmacy, social work, public health and medicine, allowed the students to experience the topics from the unique perspectives of each field.

    UofL’s Cultural Competency Day was first held in 2006, the result of efforts by Jones and Patricia Allen, administrative associate for the Area Health Education Center (AHEC) program office at UofL, to improve cultural understanding of UofL Health Sciences Center students. Approximately 150 students attended the event its first year. The event is named for Allen, who helped lay the groundwork and planning for the event.


    Betty Coffman
    Betty Coffman is a Communications Coordinator focused on research and innovation at UofL. A UofL alumna and Louisville native, she served as a writer and editor for local and national publications and as an account services coordinator and copywriter for marketing and design firms prior to joining UofL’s Office of Communications and Marketing.