Course Feature: HSC 320 Health Care Issues in Culturally Diverse Populations

african american nurse doing a check up on a young asian girl and her mother

Health Care Issues in Culturally Diverse Populations introduces students to the concepts of culture and cultural diversity as they relate to health care and the health care delivery system. Students explore religious, racial, ethnic, and other subcultures that exist in our society, and examine conflicts that often occur when differing cultures enter the health care arena.

Diversity is no longer someone else’s issue; it should and must be an issue for everyone. You can’t watch the news, explore the internet, follow Twitter, or spend time in any of our communities without experiencing human diversity in one form or another. Just looking at age and race/ethnicity alone illustrates a dramatic shift in demographics in America. Per the U.S. Census projections released in 2015; “By 2030, one in five Americans is projected to be 65 and over; by 2044, more than half of all Americans are projected to belong to a minority group (any group other than non-Hispanic White alone); and by 2060, nearly one in five of the nation’s total population is projected to be foreign born.” This means in as short a time as 25 years from now, there will no longer be any single dominant racial group in this country; something we have not seen since the country was founded in 1776!

HSC 230 is an exciting course, and each week we delve into a new and controversial area of diversity. The discussions in this course are unlike any others I have been a part of. We dig deep into crucial and provocative topics and students love that aspect. We don’t always agree, but we have amazing conversations that result in increased understanding and appreciation of our differences.

In week one, students watch an engaging video titled, “The Danger of a Single Story,” and our conversations begin in earnest. In week two, we explore how amazing our health care delivery system can be if we all practice from a position of cultural humility. Students have a unique opportunity to participate in an interactive online activity that provides them with feedback and insight on their own hidden beliefs and biases about diverse cultures. This is always an eye-opening and engaging process that generates a lot of student interest and conversation. From there, we use the touching and heart-wrenching story, “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” by Anne Fadiman as a springboard to deeper reflection and conversation about what happens when cultures clash in health care settings. As the course progresses, students explore a range of diverse healthcare issues beginning with LGBT challenges in today’s health care system. From there, we explore the relationship between our spirituality, race and ethnicity, social class, and our overall health and health care experience.

This course is full of engaging videos, websites, and current readings on health care with diverse populations in America today. The discussions are among the best you will find in any college course on any topic. If you are someone who likes to explore new ground and you like hearing how others feel about some of the most significant issues facing society today, then this is the course for you.

Here is what some of our students have said about this course: “…I have walked away from this course with great understanding in cultural diversity in healthcare. I learned so much and am very pleased I took this course.” and “I think the instructor did a great job providing discussions that helped facilitate learning. I was able to learn a lot about cultural sensitivity and humility in healthcare that will benefit in my career. Overall, I’m very happy with this course and glad I chose to take it.”

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