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About Sickkids
About SickKids

October 14, 2011

SickKids opens cultural competence education to the world

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) has launched a series of free educational tools designed to enhance cultural competence in health care.

“Health equity is a complex and increasingly important issue in Ontario health care,” says Karima Karmali, Director, SickKids Centre for Innovation and Excellence in Child and Family Centred Care. “Cultural competence is an avenue for health-care professionals to address health disparities, especially those faced by new immigrants, and to improve health outcomes.”

Providing equitable and quality care means understanding and responding to cultural factors that influence concepts of health and illness, health behaviour and help seeking, Karmali says.

“Understanding patient needs and health beliefs, and recognizing how our own beliefs and values play a role in interactions with patients, can make the difference between good and excellent care,” says Karmali. “The tools SickKids is providing support our organizational priorities of leading in world-class quality and service excellence and enhancing child health systems.”

Available online and free of charge, the materials include:

• The 20-minute educational training film, Journey to Cultural Competence, incorporating the perspectives of patients, families and health-care professionals.
• 15 interactive e-learning modules. Titles include: Introduction to Clinical Cultural Competence, Pain and Cultural Competence, Working Effectively with Health-care Interpreters.
• A 300-page Train-the-Trainer manual, with all materials needed to deliver clinical, non-clinical, and manager cultural competence workshops at any health-care organization.

The materials were developed by the SickKids New Immigrant Support Network (NISN). Established in April 2009 through funding received from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, NISN implemented a number of initiatives focused on enhancing the quality of health care and health information for newcomers, including the creation and delivery of cultural competence education to SickKids staff.

“Over 2,000 SickKids staff attended cultural competence workshops and made commitments to enhancing their practice to be more culturally competent,” says Karmali. “We’ve seen a five per cent increase in in-patient satisfaction related to staff cultural sensitivity since the training began.”

Beginning in October, NISN will deliver Train-the-Trainer workshops across Ontario. The workshops provide interested health-care organizations with the tools required to facilitate the development and delivery of a cultural competence education program for paediatric and adult settings and are offered free of charge.

Download the educational resources or access more information about NISN and culturally competent care at www.sickkids.ca/culturalcompetence.