Webinar: Women’s Health and COVID-19

Women’s health has been hit harder by COVID-19 than men. They’re skipping cancer screening (and missing diagnoses), dropping out of their jobs, and more effected by domestic abuse–just to name a few reasons why.

As we continue to learn about this pandemic and how to navigate through this time, understanding the key ways you can help mitigate some of the damage starts by seeing a clear picture of COVID’s unknown consequences.

Missed January 19th’s COVID-19 & Women’s Health: What You Need To Know webinar with Talance CEO Monique Cuvelier and Health Educator/Evidence-Based Birth® Instructor, Mary Etna Haac? No problem! You can watch it on demand.

Click here to receive the replay.

In this comprehensive webinar, you’ll learn:

  • How COVID-19 affects women disproportionately
  • Important health guidelines and mandates for women, including maternal and child health
  • Strategies and practices for equitable health support of women and families

Plus, as a thank you for joining, you’ll be receiving a bundle of valuable resources to help prepare you for supporting the women and families in your community, including top resources for the most pressing women’s health issues, COVID-19 resources, and advice from women’s health experts including birth specialists.

Click here to receive the replay.

If you’re looking for learning solutions and training materials for your team, learn more about what Talance does. For a free consultation, contact us directly.

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Cultural Competency: What It Is and Why It’s Needed in Healthcare

Healthcare is better than ever, in many ways. Improvements in research and technology mean that providers and systems have the ability to screen and treat people early and better. This means that many people can avoid health problems that could disrupt their lives or cause early death.

But the ability to provide this kind of care is not the same as actually providing it. Too often, minority groups are left out of the innovation and don’t receive equal access to care.

→ Register Now: Women’s Health and COVID-19: What You Need to Know

Implicit Bias and Health Disparities

This gap in care is down to bias blind spots—sometimes intentional and sometimes implicit or unconscious bias—that leaves out wide swaths of the population.

People sometimes have vastly different healthcare experiences because of their race/ethnicity, income, geographic location, sexual preference, or other characteristics. These health disparities mean that many populations are disproportionately burdened by chronic illnesses and other health concerns.

More African Americans and Latinos, compared to whites, have at least one of seven chronic conditions: asthma, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, or anxiety/ depression.

Some of this is because they don’t get treated quickly or at all, compared to white populations.

Share of Nonelderly Adults Who Did Not Receive Care or Delayed Care in the Past Year by Race/Ethnicity, 2018

Source: KFF

As a healthcare leader, it’s impossible to ignore figures like these.

That’s why it’s imperative for agencies to not only understand health disparities but also develop cultural competence among your team.

What Is Cultural Competence?

For your staff and volunteers, cultural competency is being able to help the people in your community have better access to appropriate healthcare and to have their best possible health. Also it means to do so while working within the context of your clients’ cultural beliefs, behaviors, and needs.

Cultural competency is an essential element that bridges the people in your community and the healthcare system.

COVID-19 & Women's Health: What You Need To Know

In terms of services and care, this might look like:

  • Providing interpreters when necessary
  • Addressing gaps in health literacy
  • Recruiting and training a culturally diverse team
  • Setting up clinics and providers to offer transgender care
  • Providing training to all staff in cultural awareness, knowledge, and skills
  • Collaborating with traditional healers
  • Offering specialized training on LGBTQ+ health issues
  • Hiring and training community health workers
  • Recognizing and applying culture-specific attitudes in health promotion

Note that these practices are both inward facing and outward facing for healthcare agencies. Yes, it’s about having a diverse team, but it’s also about knowing how to talk to a diverse community. You must be fully aware of your organization in order for that to extend to your client community.

Providing Cultural Competency Training

To create a workplace with cultural competence, you’ll need to invest in change, including continued learning, listening, and evolving. Health professionals need to learn how to deliver services with awareness and sensitivity.

Training is a good place to start. Ideally, you’ll have ongoing learning efforts that cover a variety of topics.

Look for or create training programs that cover areas such as …

Health disparities and social determinants of health: Understanding how socioeconomic and sociocultural factors effect clients, patients, and providers.

Implicit bias training for healthcare providers: Explicit bias is obvious. For example, overt racism and prejudice. It’s harmful, but easier to spot. Unconscious bias is more insidious and pervasive, because people don’t recognize it. Training in this topic can help stamp out harmful stereotypes. Implicit bias training is mandatory in many states.

Health literacy: Improving understanding of health information in a context that makes sense for the patient and client.

Eliminating language barriers: Working with medical interpreters, providing language proficiency courses or working with bilingual staff.

Communication skills: Building on language skills to include wider ways of communication among all facets of the healthcare system, including patient, provider, insurance, and administration.

Note that one short course is just a beginning. Cultural competence in healthcare is a process and a way of operating. It pays off to expand your institution’s capacity in cultural competency and diversity. It improves health outcomes, builds community relations, and supports a stronger internal culture.

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How To Set Professional Learning Goals in Uncertain Times

Setting learning-based New Year’s resolutions is the best option for 2021.

By Eliana Ifill

Normally, the new year is an excellent time for eager goal-setting. It’s a chance to think about who we were, who we want to be, and what kinds of changes need to happen to get there.

But we’re all entering this new year more carefully than in the past. We’ve all learned that the best plans can change radically, and we’ve learned to be more flexible about modified plans, both at work and home.

→ Hurry! Sign up for Women’s Health and COVID-19: What You Need to Know

This year is still full of uncertainty, but making a learning plan might be one of the most solid kinds of resolutions you can make right now. A professional development plan for you or your team at the least requires only reflection, and at the most, taking some online courses just as easily taken from home as at work. Plus, there are more online training options now than ever before.

Motivate Yourself for a New Year Training Plan

You might be tempted to say, “Why bother?” but remember this boon in training resources and your own ability to reflect as you think about where you or your team should be by time the next year rolls around.

Aspects like bureaucracy, unclear scopes of practice, and the complicated nature of healthcare–especially for marginalized communities–leave many healthcare agencies feeling overloaded and like it’s hard too to set professional development and learning goals.

That kind of attitude is understandable, but these activities haven’t been canceled. Your career or your team’s career will keep going on. Setting professional goals is the best way to build skills for the job you have or you want your team to have and start to gain experience for advancing on a career path.

Research Required Training

The first step in setting a training goal for yourself as a supervisor or manager is to find out what’s required. You might need to complete regular training in topics like sexual harassment or unconscious bias.

If you have your own eye on a job along the career ladder, find out what you need before you can climb it.

When you’re planning training for your staff, also find out what’s required for their position and make sure you make it easy for them to complete.

Then, build on to that solid base with specialized training that fits the needs of your community or what you want to do. Set meetings with your staff regularly to review these goals, maybe every three months or twice a year, to discuss these options and offer support.

Continuous education and training will help you benefit your career and also help the people who work with you. Read on for more ideas about setting defining training goals for your employees, and also review what a training needs analysis requires.

5 Things To Keep in Mind When Helping Your Staff Set Learning Goals

1. Identify what areas in your community need the most support.

2. Find out certificates or training your state requires for staff positions.

3. Work with each team member to find out their professional goals.

4. Set a system for measuring learning goals.

5. Provide constructive feedback and support. 

1.     Identify what areas in your community need the most support.

Many public health departments work closely with underserved communities and families with little to no access to basic health care. Your agency has the opportunity to address the unique challenges your community is facing and help people living there to overcome these barriers.

When setting staff learning goals regarding community needs, keep in mind:

  • medical conditions of clients who most need it, such as those who access the ER often
  • requirements of your employer or certifying bodies
  • specific needs of those in your community, such as through a community health needs assessment.

This will tell you something about needs surrounding chronic illnesses that’s are problem where you live, such as diabetes or heart disease. Or it might reveal a need for more general skills such as advocacy, help navigating health insurance, transportation, or language services.

2.     Find out certificates or training your state requires for staff positions.

Your agency’s HR department likely has information about specific certification required in an employee’s job. Start there. But also look at requirements that would empower your staff to do more and make it easier to hire from within.

3.    Work with each team member to find out their professional goals.

Some good employees never consider their job as a long-term career or a steppingstone within your organization. If you find out what your staff’s professional goals are early on, you can help them, build loyalty, and improve engagement along the way.

4.     Set a system for measuring learning goals.

Once you’ve worked with your staff to more or less define their career aspirations, it’s time to clearly outline those goals and create an action plan.

For goal setting, you can use a system like SMART goals, which stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-based (or time-bound).

An example of a SMART learning goal is:

Contact my local authority to request the certification requirements before registration for the Core Competencies course closes for this quarter.

5. Provide constructive feedback and support.

Many workforce members complete training successfully, but then they are at a loss about using their new skills. This requires opportunity and feedback from you. Create a culture in your staff that encourages honest and open feedback. This can feel awkward, but it’s essential to build in this kind of feedback regularly to earn a solid ROI on your training and staff investment.

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How To Make Training Investments Really Pay Off

Most agencies think training is important for their employees—but many think it applies only to onboarding. You may find where you work that after the first few months of someone’s employment (or volunteer position), training tapers off. Daily tasks start to seem more important than training investments.

→ Free Presentation: Women’s Health and COVID-19: What You Need to Know

Not so. Agencies like yours have many reasons to keep up on professional development opportunities through the entire duration of a person’s employment.

Train your staff the whole time they’re employed.

Training your staff throughout the year, and throughout their employ is an investment that will pay off. Here are three compelling reasons:

  1. It’s what employees want. Investment in training is one of the top reasons workers apply to organizations. If you making it clear you’ll offer these professional development opportunities in job ads and through the interviewing process, you’ll get more applicants who are dedicated and come ready to offer their new skills.
  2. It sparks motivation. Learning new skills can keep employees engaged and dedicated to their jobs. It really helps if you can merge training with staff learning goals.
  3. It creates qualified employees If you invest in training for your existing staff, you can hire and promote from within. Hiring processes are expensive and time-consuming. Tapping into current talent is a shortcut that can pay off, and if you know the employee, you also have an idea of their work ethic and dedication.

Let your staff use their new skills.

We recently conducted a survey of a professional development course we offered. The results were positive:

  • 70% said the course gave them the tools they directly needed for work
  • 90% said they had significantly increased competence in the topic
  • one person said they used the course to kick-start a syringe exchange program in their community

Exactly the kinds of results we love to see.

But when we asked how much importance learners’ managers placed on the skills and concepts they picked up, the results were less encouraging. More than a third said their managers did little to let them use their new skills.

Uh oh.

Investing in training for your health staff is a smart move. It sets employers to have loyal, motivated workers who can do more on the job. Companies that invest $1500 or more for training, per employee per year, average 24 percent higher profits than companies with lower yearly training investments, according to HR Magazine. These figures are proof that training serves the organization well and increases the health of the community.

While many employers recognize the value of investing in training, too many neglect this second step. They have to let people use what they’ve learned. Health worker training is of little use when that education ends with the last day of class.

Here’s the secret to making sure investments in training pay off: make it easy for employees to learn, make it easy for them to share that knowledge, and set you and your staff up for success.

Review your organizational goals before you register anyone in training. Your staff may love a course on creating walkable neighborhoods, but it doesn’t matter if your program’s focus is on oral health. (Read 11 Things To Know About Setting Training Program Goals.)

When employees are done with a new training program, ask them to suggest new programs or improvements for existing ones based on their experience. Refer to earlier example of the syringe exchange program, which originated in a course forum discussion between two people at opposite sides of the country.

Ask participants to share the knowledge they just learned. Ask them to prepare a presentation to give to the rest of the care team, or have them summarize some of the most salient resources in an email to your whole organization.

Repeat with every person at every educational opportunity.

Start now by thinking about your training programs as part of your company culture and strategic plan. Continue to evolve the program to keep up with best practices, changes in clinical guidelines, or outside research like community health needs assessments.

Originally published May 16, 2016, updated January 04, 2021

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