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The goal of the Hispanic Health Council’s Cross-Cultural & Diversity Inclusiveness (CC&DI) Training Program is for participants to establish the foundation of knowledge, attitudes, and skills needed to interact effectively with people of diverse backgrounds.The program was established in 2003, and has since been tailored to train over 3,000 health, public health and human service providers, students, faculty and administrators.  HHC currently conducts training through contracts with the Connecticut Hospital Association, St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center, University of Connecticut Graduate Medical Education Program and the Frank. H. Netter School of Medicine at Quinnipiac University, among other organizations. 
For more information please call: (860) 527-0856

The CC&DI training follows the Institute of Medicine recommendation of addressing participants’ knowledge, attitude, and skills.  It is highly participatory and utilizes a variety of training methods, selected for their effectiveness in teaching about specific topics and facilitating the development of specific skills.  Therefore, the training is conducted in relatively small groups, ranging from 15 minimum to 23 maximum. 

Training modules include the following:

Exploring Heritage & Dimensions of Identity

This module introduces the concept that diversity begins with an appreciation for the uniqueness of each person. Exploring one’s own heritage and identity is the first step toward greater self-awareness of how one’s personal cultural values, assumptions, and beliefs influence their delivery of care. Through formal presentation and interactive exercises, participants will learn the “dimensions of diversity” and aspects of identity beyond ethnic culture.

Health Disparities 101: Recognition, Awareness, and Response to Biases

Through formal presentation, film, and group discussion, this module provides a theoretical context for concepts that will be examined throughout the training - including health disparities and their sources and solutions, stereotyping, personal cultural competence, cultural humility, and organizational cultural competence.

Social Inequalities and Their Interface with Health

Providing health services requires knowledge and understanding of socioeconomic influences on health beliefs and behaviors in the communities being served (Metzl & Hansen, 2014). In order to enhance participants’ structural competency, this module utilizes didactic instruction, film discussion, and interactive group exercises to reach beyond a superficial analysis of the social context of health problems, to give participants a deeper understanding of how social inequality and oppression negatively impact an individual’s health and use of health services.

Reducing Barriers: Effective Communications and Cultural Brokering

Effective communication is essential to quality healthcare provision.  This module focuses on developing communication skills to address differences in perspective and conflicts that sometimes surface in the context of providing healthcare services to diverse patient populations. Discussion of the CLAS Standards and use of skill-building exercises help participants learn to negotiate across cultural, linguistic, and social class differences.

HHC offers a comprehensive ten-hour version of the CC& DI curriculum, and a modified four-hour version. Information and cost is available from Grace Damio, Director of Training:

HHC’s CC&DI Training Team

Grace Damio, MS, CD/N, is Director of Research and Training at the Hispanic Health Council (HHC). Ms. Damio joined HHC in 1986 and has developed and overseen many of HHC’s initiatives designed to reduce health disparities. Ms. Damio has been HHC’s lead on the development and evaluation of community health worker service models for health promotion and chronic disease management. Ms. Damio developed the original cross cultural training curriculum that is currently being used in various modified formats for HHC’s Cross Cultural & Diversity Inclusiveness initiative, and currently oversees this initiative. Ms. Damio has worked with a number of academic and clinical partners, including her role as deputy director of the (NIH) Center for Eliminating Health Disparities among Latinos (CEHDL) from 2005-2011. Ms. Damio has co-authored many articles published in peer-reviewed journals. She serves on several local, statewide and national boards and committees related to addressing health inequities through research and policy change. Ms. Damio holds a bachelor’s degree in community nutrition from the University of Connecticut and master’s degree in public health nutrition from Columbia University. 

Michele Stewart Copes, MS, MSW, is a Cross Cultural Trainer in HHC’s CC&DI Initiative. Ms. Copes joined HHC in 2016. She is a national trainer and consultant in system of care and cultural competency coaching, holds the National Supervisor Coach Wraparound Certification, and has provided wraparound training, and coaching in 20 states and Canada. At the Connecticut State Department of Public Health, Office of Multicultural Health, Ms. Copes worked with the Multicultural Health Advisory Commission and chaired the Workforce Development Committee of the Connecticut Multicultural Health Partnership. At Southern Connecticut State University, she taught the Cultural Competency class in the Master of Public Health Program, and at the World of Difference Office of the Anti-Defamation League, she worked with teachers and students to increase diversity skills. Ms Copes was appointed to the National Partnership for Action’s New England Regional Health Equity Council.  In addition to her work with HHC, Ms. Copes operates SEET Consultants, LLC, System for Education Equity & Transition, and is a Principal with Health & Equity LLC. Ms. Copes holds a Master in Social Work from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Science in Guidance and Counseling from Central Connecticut State University.

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