This curriculum has been developed in the framework of the EduOnMed project- KA210-ADU - Small-scale partnerships in adult education- and is based on Healthy Diversity Training Programme in the framework of the ”Healthy Diversity” project. The main objective of EduOnMed project is to bridge intercultural, intergenerational and social divides by fostering social inclusion and intercultural understanding as well as by improving the competencies of migration professionals in relation to health and medicine matters. Linked to this, the project focuses also on the physical and mental health of refugees and migrants as the skills that the participants will acquire will be used to improve the refugees and migrant’s wellbeing and will help their integration. In order to develop this curriculum, the EduOnMed partnership carried out local roundtables with professionals from health and social care sector, in Greece, Italy and Spain. The programme has been adapted according to the feedback of participants and a special focus has been done to the Covid pandemic and how it changed the perception or interaction between patient and health professional.
“Every culture is a formulation of what is true, beautiful and just, and of how to get there” Carmel Camilleri, Professor of cultural psychology
Up to the present there is no single consensual definition of “culture”. Already in 1952, Kroeber and Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions in their work “Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions”.
One of the reasons for the many definitions is that there are many different angles from which it is possible to tackle the notion of culture. Some of these perspectives are described below.
Generally, the experience of pain is either thought of as something purely individual or connected to biological processes that affect all human beings in a certain way. Thus, some people seem to have a high threshold for pain, while some people seem to have a lower one and might be considered oversensitive to pain. However, how humans experience pain and make sense of it, is not only subject to their individual tolerance level or simply given on the basis of biochemical reactions. Rather, experience of pain hinges on social ways of making sense of the world, which affect how bodily sensations are interpreted. In his paper, Norbert Kohnen delineates cultural variations in the concepts that underlie the experience of pain. Reviewing anthropological research, he gives a vast number of examples of how pain is experienced and processed in a culturally specific way. Being unaware of variations in how pain might be felt and expressed in different cultures can have negative effects for a medical practice, for example when a doctor thinks that a patient is not in pain when actually what happens is that the patient’s experience does not fit with the doctor’s preconceived ideas about how pain is felt.
The paper by anthropologist Stefania Viapiana presents an interesting analysis offering practical examples on how some corporal practices and lifestyles vary according to the country and culture of the origin of the people. Firstly, the author introduces the concept of “double transit”, understood as the challenging situation experienced by the migrant woman who finds the values and norms of the host country different from hers, but also has to deal with the values of her culture of origin. Secondly, the author analyses the new challenge for migrant women fighting for autonomy from the authority of the husband in the new social context. References to eminent experts are offered in the text in an attempt to clarify some aspects of gender identity and to shed light on the meaning of practices of “female genital modifications”, taking up some cases for reflection. In the case of gender identity, some facts presented by the experts underline how in certain cultures the superiority of the man is perceived as a natural and biological matter, an idea which is greatly shared and actively contributed to by women themselves. The topic of female genital modifications is analysed through several examples indicating such practices as rituals that are preserved by women as part of the local tradition. Finally, a set of studies is presented, which highlights how some traditional practices become challenging for those women who are living as migrants in contact with Western populations.
Carmel Camilleri, Professor of cultural psychology
The aim of this session is to offer a guide to participants into the conceptual universe of Healthy Diversity. We will establish a common vocabulary which will facilitate working with the participant group during the full training. More particularly participants will form a common understanding of concepts like culture, cultural identity, frame of reference, critical incidents and sensitive zones. Furthermore the session will also highlight how culture may influence medical practices and how basic notions related to health and illness that seem to be universal are in fact highly relative and culture-sensitive. Participants will be led to think about how to acknowledge differences without rigidifying them.
Module 2 focuses on how to better understand patients/relatives from different cultural backgrounds. But how to behave once we have this understanding? Is it the health professional’s role to adapt to the other entirely? How to know until when adaptation is required from the health professional? Or how to get from the understanding of one’s own and the other’s reference frame to the negotiation of mutually acceptable solutions for the problem?
This module provides an understanding of intercultural communication, the principal elements and challenges of negotiation, a conceptual approach toward rational thinking and trains the learner in professionally using the most suitable tools and techniques to establish productive and cross cultural relationships and agreements. The module emphasises continuing personal professional development and specialisation to allow health practitioners to bring a high level of expertise and insight when dealing with diverse patients.
The overall aim of the module is to enhance the ability to build a sustainable and trusting, well-functioning workplace characterised by good group dynamics. The sessions, in fact, will encourage participants to further reflect on their personal/professional identity and values, focusing on stereotypes and possible prejudices they might hold, and developing a greater understanding of how personality affects team-work. The importance of having trusting and well-functioning group dynamics is especially important in intercultural teams, where misunderstandings linked to the different cultural backgrounds are more likely to occur compared to more culturally homogeneous settings. However, if good group dynamics and tools to solve intercultural conflicts are in place, the working process and outcomes will be efficient, rewarding and will indeed benefit from the intra- group diversity.
Learning objectives: That participants awareness of the state-of-the-art of diversity management and the approach to intercultural communication and understanding in their own healthcare organisation is enhanced. This may also include the lack of diversity management and intercultural practices in the organisation. The state-of-the-art analysis is carried out by using a specific process- and profile tool which helps the participants to draw a diversity profile of their healthcare organisation, in terms of the organisational culture and values, the recruitment policy and practices, etc. Moreover, the process- and profile tool also provides the participants with an insight into strategic perspectives of diversity management and how to start the implementation process. That participants exchange analyses, profiles and reflections as well as practical experience in terms of institutional / organisational strategies and procedures for diversity management and intercultural competence in their healthcare work places.