Tag Archives: Cultural Humility

“Living Into Our Mission” by Dr Erica Britton

Isn’t it true that “everyday life” teaches us lessons we didn’t know we needed to learn?  Or, that there are events that happen as a part of our daily lives that shine a light on things that need to be seen?  I think so.   Recently, I’ve had the opportunity to spend a lot of time with a healthy, vibrant, joyful 76-year-old with no major health problems, my mother*, a Black woman who, as a teenager, migrated with her family from the American South to East Palo Alto in the 1960s.  Lately, she has been experiencing pain and other symptoms that are far outside her normal daily living experiences.  The symptoms were starting to take a toll on her emotionally.  She asked me to “sit in” on a virtual Doctor’s appointment with her.  When she described the pain and swelling, she is experiencing, the Doctor asked her several follow up questions which Mom answered succinctly without much elaboration.  Based on Mom’s answers and her upbeat, cheerful tone, the Doctor suggested compression stockings.    That would have been the end of the appointment.  Instead, Mom has two upcoming medical procedures that are going to improve her life both physically and psychologically.  So, what happened? Why does she have two medical procedures instead of compression stockings? After all, Mom reported her experience.  The Doctor who has a good relationship with Mom, listened closely and did an assessment. What had happened was, the Doctor was not aware of Mom’s deft use of African American English and code-switching.  Since I had seen the swelling and knew her actual level of discomfort, I asked Mom some additional questions and asked her to share her answers with the Doctor. Once the Doctor heard the additional information, she insisted that Mom come for an in-person visit.  The result of the in-person visit revealed two significant problems which would have otherwise been missed.

Consider this. Several years ago, a local Black psychiatrist was called to the emergency room of a Bay Area hospital. The ER staff did not know what to do to support or contain a man absolutely overcome with grief. His grandmother had been shot by a stray bullet, just a few houses down from her own home, and now, she lay dead on a gurney in the ER, despite the efforts of determined physicians. The Grandson was not screaming or shouting epithets or kicking over furniture. He was not violent by any definition. He was doubled over weeping, rocking back and forth, and humming amazing grace. ER staff had alerted security because he would not leave his grandmother’s side. He continued to weep, rock and sing. He was not going to leave her. The psychiatrist went to the emergency room, was briefed by the staff, and left them to be with the young man. He stood and watched from a distance for a few minutes and understood exactly what he was seeing. Grandson was expressing grief in the only language that he knew–the gospel music of his home and community–and rocking his body for comfort. In the aftermath of that trauma, he needed to be exactly where he was, doing exactly what he was doing.

Read more

BECOME A CULTURAL HUMILITY TRAINER THROUGH 3-DAY TRAINING!

Become a Cultural Humility trainer with Leanna Lewis, LCSW. As a trainer, you will be able to teach Cultural Humility trainings to other organizations in order to further educate the importance of critical self- reflection and life-long learning; changing power dynamics for client focused care; advocating for and maintaining institutional consistency; and community- based care and advocacy. 

Please note: You may only apply if you have already taken Melanie Tervalon’s Cultural Humility training as a participant. 

Deadline to apply is June 8th, 2021. Application can be found here. 

For more information, contact Kristie Lui at KFLui@smcgov.org or Erica Britton at EBritton@smcgov.org.

The Office of Diversity and Equity Offers New Community Resources!

The Office of Diversity and Equity (ODE) created a We Welcome All poster and Cultural Humility Group Agreements poster for the community to practice cultural humility, advance equity, and build inclusion in their home space, business space, work space, community space, etc. 

We Welcome All Poster

The We Welcome All Poster was designed to show the Office of Diversity and Equity’s solidarity with San Mateo County’s diverse community. Regardless of race, ethnicity, citizen status, sexual orientation and gender identity, ODE celebrates and values diversity. We invite everyone to celebrate and value diversity with us. 

The varying languages on the bottom half of the poster represent San Mateo County’s 5 threshold languages: English, Chinese, Spanish, Russian, and Tagalog, as well as the county’s 5 emerging languages: Arabic, Burmese, Portuguese, Samoan, and Tongan. 

People with the We Welcome All poster are encouraged to post them near the front entrance of their buildings where visitors and passer-bys are able to see them.

Read more

Become a Cultural Humility Trainer Through 2-day Training!

garage

Become a Cultural Humility trainer with creators of the multicultural-affirming tool, Melanie Tervalon, MD, MPH and Jann Murray- Garcia, MD, MPH. As a trainer, you will be able to teach Cultural Humility trainings to other organizations in order to further educate the importance of critical self- reflection and life-long learning; changing power dynamics for client focused care; advocating for and maintaining institutional consistency; and community- based care and advocacy. 

Please note: You may only apply if you have already taken Melanie Tervalon’s Cultural Humility training as a participant. 

Deadline to apply is January 31st. Application can be found here

For more information, contact Erica Britton at ebritton@smcgov.org or (650) 372- 6153. 

Native American Heritage Month: The Power of Visibility

NativeAmerican_Final_site banner

This November, the Office of Diversity and Equity celebrates Native American Heritage Month (NAHM).

With Thanksgiving, a holiday known to be controversial for Native American history, just around the corner, visibility of Native Americans during this month is particularly important. NAHM recognizes the contributions that native peoples have made for our community. It is a time to celebrate the diverse cultures, traditions, and histories of our local tribes and also educate ourselves about the challenges Native people have faced and currently face, including health disparities.

Native Americans face a large number of behavioral health challenges, including suicide risk. Across all ages, American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/ AN) populations in the U.S. experience high risk for suicide, with an overall suicide rate of 11.7 individuals per 100,000. This rate is greater than that for all other subgroups except white males, who have a suicide rate of 23.4 individuals per 100,000. Source

The existence of Native American Heritage Month alone does not have the capability to improve the lives or health outcomes of Native Americans living in San Mateo County. We as individuals and as a community must make an active effort to celebrate Native American achievements and educate ourselves about current challenges to make the month meaningful.
Read more

Healthy Minds, Choices, Families & Community – Physical, Mental, Spiritual, Cultural: “10 Years of Combatting Trauma!”

Sponsored by the East Palo Alto Behavioral Health Advisory Group (EPABHAG) and convened by One East Palo Alto the 10th Annual Family Awareness Night (FAN) represents our own local celebration of May 2017 as National Mental Health Awareness Month, an official, nation-wide recognition period for which San Mateo County Behavioral Health & Recovery Services (BHRS) leads.

The evening planned for FAN 2017 in EPA will begin with a very special, delicious dinner. Afterwards, it will feature a discussion of mental health as a very important component of good quality of life. Although the discussion will initially touch on general mental health considerations, its central focus will be to provide community members with wellness tools that promote self-empowerment to overcome trauma and strengthen resilience. FAN’s activities are designed to achieve these objectives: to celebrate collaborative successes that have been accomplished over the last 10 years; highlight outreach and interventions in the community that are contributing to success of efforts to raise awareness of mental health issues; expose stigma and define trauma as they relate to our community; build individual and organizational capacity to provide effective services for those impacted by trauma and identify at least one wellness tool to practice after recognizing a need for self-care. Finally, the evening’s discussion will address access to quality behavioral health services and resources in EPA that promote wellness and highlight what is currently being done by EPABHAG members in partnership with BHRS to eliminate longstanding disparities.

Often times, people of color and of other marginalized backgrounds do not seek help from mental health services because of the stigma that is pervasive in their community. It is important to host events like this for families to enter a non-judgemental space to learn about stigma, so that they will feel comfortable reaching out for help to receive appropriate services.

Thursday, May 18, 2017, 5:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
East Palo Alto Academy/Multipurpose Room
1050 Myrtle Street, East Palo Alto, CA 94303

This article was adapted from a letter sent by Faye C. McNair-Knox, Ph.D. and Executive Director of One East Palo Alto.