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Charlotte Amalie
Thursday, June 1, 2023
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Health Care Training Focuses on Diversity

Health care professionals on St. Thomas will gather Wednesday to learn how to better serve the needs of a rapidly changing community.

The group Virgin Islands Perinatal, Inc. (VIPI) is teaming up with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to offer Cultural and Linguistic Competency training. The goal of the training is to better serve the needs of people from different cultures and background.

“It’s related first of all to the changing face of the Virgin Islands community,” said Karen Hunt, project director for VIPI.

Hunt said that representatives of more and more nationalities are calling the Virgin Islands home, and those people will need to be understood and served. Wednesday’s training session will focus on women’s health needs.

Hunt said that many women’s health efforts focus on prenatal care. However, this one is a little different – it focuses on the needs of women who are not pregnant. “The best time to maximize pregnancy outcome is before the person gets pregnant,” she said.

She said that it’s important for health workers to know how to effectively reach out to women who may speak a different language, or come from a different culture, because otherwise those women may avoid seeking out health services entirely.

“Different doesn’t mean less than,” she said. “All too often if people get those types of messages, they are going to be discouraged.”

She said that people who don’t feel welcomed by the health profession only seek it out when they desperately need it – and that creates more problems in the long run.

“If people learn to use the emergency room for primary care needs, it burdens the system. It’s a poor use of our limited resources.”

Organizers will also use the training sessions to release the results of a series of assessments that were conducted through the VIPI at St. Thomas East End Medical Center, Roy Lester Schneider Hospital, Labor and Deliver and Post Partum Care and the Department of Health Community Health Clinic.

The training sessions will take place July 15 and 16 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on St. Thomas at the Headstart Multi-Purpose Center and Friday July 17 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Charles Harwood Medical Complex on St. Croix.

All public health care providers are invited.

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