Presentation by Richard G. Dudley, M.D. at the 2010 RWJF LFP Annual Meeting in St. Paul, MN
Ethnicity and culture have wide-ranging impact on human behavior. Understanding that impact is crucial to meaningful communication and the ability to appreciate the concerns of persons from different backgrounds. The adult brain is imprinted with many experiences that form one’s identity and influence one’s decisions. One’s community of origin forms the basis of language and culture whether one comes from another country or from an inner-city neighborhood. A person’s response to prison, poverty, or mental illness will be shaped by ethno-cultural background.
We will focus on how ethnicity and culture influence human behavior, and how to integrate that understanding into the design and delivery of accessible human service programs. Participants and graduates will compare experiences where ethno-cultural differences intersect with the justice system, homeless services, and employment opportunities. We will discuss strategies to create health and social service programs staffed with persons who are ethno-culturally competent, responsive, and respectful.