The San José Clinic welcomed donors, thought leaders and health care providers to its annual Fall Speaker Series Luncheon on Oct. 23, 2018 to discuss the growing need to address and eliminate cultural barriers in access to health care.
This year, Stephen J. Spann, M.D., MBA, founding dean of the University of Houston College of Medicine, and David S. Buck, M.D., MPH, the forthcoming college’s associate dean of community health, served as luncheon speakers. A discussion with them was moderated by Telemundo Houston morning news anchor Antonio Hernandez.
“I don’t think anyone ever becomes culturally competent,” Spann said as he addressed the crowd assembled at the River Oaks Country Club. “I think we are on a life journey of cultural humility and I prefer to think about multicultural fluency and understanding people from other cultures and understanding how that affects their health beliefs.”
As the fourth largest city in the country and the second-most diverse, addressing cultural barriers is a top priority for health care providers in Houston.
“The greatest challenge is access to care,” Spann explained. “We in Texas have the largest percent of our population that is medically uninsured … so just getting the treatment is a major challenge for these patients.”
The UH College of Medicine, which is expected to open in 2020, will train medical students to become primary care physicians who focus on providing care to the underserved, much like the San José Clinic.
“The San José Clinic was founded to break down the barriers of health care for the underserved and I think that is within our mission statement as well,” Buck said. “These issues of access and equity are vital to what we are doing and trying to do … integrating not just medical care, not just nursing care, pharmacy expertise and social work, but really integrating all of these social determinants into the practice of health—not just practice of medicine.”
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