A Reflection of The Room to Grow: Journey to Cultural and Linguistic Competency Virtual Conference
By Alexis Nartey, MCDD Trainee
The Room to Grow: Journey to Cultural and Linguistic Competency Virtual Conference was impactful, rich in knowledge, and overall inspirational. The Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD) was a gold sponsor for this one-day conference, along with five other sponsors. The conference showcased a series of national speakers who discussed and emphasized the significance of cultural and linguistic competency in healthcare.
Each speaker magnified a different aspect of cultural and linguistic competency. Joni Holifield, founder and president of HeartSmiles, a non-profit organization, delivered a moving presentation on creating safe spaces for Baltimore City youth and emphasized the importance of allowing youth to lead.
Dr. Marie Plaisime, PhD, MPH, medical sociologist at Joint National Science, discussed racial bias and how it appears in medical encounters. Dr. Laura Morgan Roberts, PhD, Ma, a professor at the University of Virginia, highlighted racial issues in the workplace and steps to cultivate a workplace that is free from injustices.
Finally, Dr. Maria Mercedes Avila, PhD, Med, MPH, MSW, professor of pediatrics and adjunct assistant professor of nursing at the University of Vermont, concluded the conference with a presentation on health equity and the effects of systemic racism on underserved racial groups.
Hearing these speakers call attention to each aspect of cultural and linguistic competency with great fervor left a huge impact on the audience. Attending the conference was an experience that I will never forget and will carry with me as I progress in my public health career. I believe the more these topics are addressed, the closer we will be to a culturally and linguistically competent and equitable health care environment.