Crosscutting Modules

Burack-Weiss, A., Lawrence, L. S., & Mijangos, L. B. (Eds.). (2017). Narrative in social work practice: The power and possibility of story. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Epner, D. E., & Baile, W. F. (2012). Patient-centered care: The key to cultural competence. Annals of Oncology, 23(suppl 3), 33–42.

Ortega, R. M., & Faller, K. C. (2011). Training child welfare workers from an intersectional cultural humility perspective: A paradigm shift. Child welfare, 90(5), 27.

Expanded References/Abstracts

Burack-Weiss, A., Lawrence, L. S., & Mijangos, L. B. (Eds.). (2017). Narrative in social work practice: The power and possibility of story. New York, NY: Columbia University Press.

Narrative in Social Work Practice features first-person accounts by social workers who have successfully integrated narrative theory and approaches into their practice. Contributors describe innovative and effective interventions with a wide range of individuals, families, and groups facing a variety of life challenges. One author describes a family in crisis when a promising teenage girl suddenly takes to her bed for several years; another brings narrative practice to a Bronx trauma center; and another finds that poetry writing can enrich the lives of people living with dementia. In some chapters, the authors turn narrative techniques inward and use them as vehicles of self-discovery. Settings range from hospitals and clinics to a graduate school and a case management agency. Throughout, Narrative in Social Work Practice showcases the flexibility and appeal of narrative methods and demonstrates how they can be empowering and fulfilling for clients and social workers alike. Included are chapters like, “Scheherazade: The Social Worker as Interpreter of Social, Cultural, and Familial Maladies,” “Storytelling and Listening to Combat HIV/AIDS: Stigma and Secrecy in Kenya,” and “With Every and Story We Rise: Narrative Means to Social Justice Ends.”

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Epner, D. E., & Baile, W. F. (2012). Patient-centered care: The key to cultural competence. Annals of Oncology, 23(suppl 3), 33–42.

Much of the early literature on cultural competence focuses on the categorical or multicultural approach, in which providers learn relevant attitudes, values, beliefs, and behaviors of certain cultural groups. In essence, this involves learning key do's and don'ts for each group. Literature and educational materials of this kind focus on broad ethnic, racial, religious, or national groups, such as African American, Hispanics, or Asians. The problem with this categorical or list of traits approach to clinical cultural competence is that culture is multidimensional and dynamic. Culture comprises multiple variables, affecting all aspects of experience. Cultural processes frequently differ within the same ethnic or social group because of differences in age cohort, gender, political association, class, religion, ethnicity, and even personality. Culture is therefore a very elusive and nebulous concept, like art. The multicultural approach to cultural competence results in stereotypical thinking rather than clinical competence. A newer, cross cultural approach to culturally competent clinical practice focuses on foundational communication skills, awareness of cross-cutting cultural and social issues, and health beliefs that are present in all cultures. We can think of these as universal human beliefs, needs, and traits. This patient centered approach relies on identifying and negotiating different styles of communication, decision-making preferences, roles of family, sexual and gender issues, and issues of mistrust, prejudice, and racism, among other factors. In the current paper, we describe cultural challenges that arise in the care of four patients from disparate cultures, each of whom has advanced colon cancer that is no longer responding to chemotherapy. We then illustrate how to apply principles of patient centered care to these challenges.

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Ortega, R. M., & Faller, K. C. (2011). Training child welfare workers from an intersectional cultural humility perspective: A paradigm shift. Child Welfare, 90(5), 27.

 
The increasing diversity of the populations encountered and served by child welfare workers challenges cultural competence models. Current concerns focus on the unintentional over-emphasis on shared group characteristics, undervaluing unique differences of individuals served, and privileging worker expertise about the client’s culture, thereby exacerbating the power imbalance between them. This article promotes cultural humility in child welfare service delivery as a compliment to cultural competence, to liberate workers from expectations of cultural expertise about others, and to actively engage the clients, inclusive of their cultural differences, in the service delivery process. Skills and practice principles are discussed.

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