MDNG: Focus on Multicultural Healthcare is pleased to announce Robert C. Like, MD, MS, director of the Center for Healthy Families and Cultural Diversity, and professor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, has joined us as Physician Editor-in-Chief.
I am excited and honored to serve as Physician Editor-in-Chief to help guide the editorial development of MDNG: FOCUS on Multicultural Healthcare and enhance our reputation as a trusted source of useful healthcare information. I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce myself, provide some information about my background, and outline some of my ideas about providing quality care to patients from diverse backgrounds and the role this publication can play.
I am a family physician with a background in medical anthropology and, as the director of the Center for Healthy Families and Cultural Diversity, have been involved for more than 20 years in providing training and technical assistance to healthcare professionals, hospitals, managed care plans, academic medical centers, community groups, governmental agencies, and other entities that are interested in improving the quality and safety of care provided to our increasingly diverse populations.
The Center has given more than 450 invited workshops, seminars, grand rounds, and conference presentations to a wide variety of health and human services professionals, both in the United States and abroad. These programs have addressed a broad array of topics, including eliminating racial and ethnic disparities in health and healthcare, culturally competent patient-centered care, caring for patients with limited English proficiency, addressing cross-cultural health literacy challenges, and becoming a culturally competent healthcare organization. In the past, the Center has received funding to carry out multimethod research and evaluations relating to the effectiveness of cultural competency training. I also have collaborated on educational projects with colleagues in the European Union, Israel, and Australia.
The patients we care for come from many ethnic, racial, and socio-cultural backgrounds. In order to provide patient-centered, family-focused, community-oriented care, we need to better understand both our patients’ health beliefs and practices, as well as how our own professional and personal attitudes, beliefs, and values can impact clinical encounters. By doing so, we hopefully can do a better job of developing a therapeutic alliance and caring for patients with illnesses like cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and depression, as well as providing appropriate health promotion and disease prevention services.
Published research has shown that not only do people from different backgrounds have unequal access to care, but they also have disparities in health outcomes and in healthcare itself. One approach to help reduce these disparities in care is to provide cultural competency training and link this to ongoing quality improvement and patient safety interventions in healthcare organizations. Another step in reducing healthcare disparities is to recognize that the need is greater than ever for physicians who treat multicultural patient populations to have access to the latest information and resources.
Physicians who care for ethnically, racially, and culturally diverse populations deserve a unique publication. Reliable and up-to-date information is the best prescription. As Physician Editor-in-Chief, I look forward to seeing MDNG: Focus on Multicultural Healthcare disseminate practical and relevant information that can help physicians and other health professionals in their daily work caring for patients from diverse backgrounds. This will include coverage of evidence-based research findings, best and promising practices, new and emerging technologies, educational opportunities, and other resources that can improve the quality, effectiveness, and safety of care provided to all patients. We will also support national, state, and local efforts underway to eliminate disparities in health and healthcare, as well as to provide more culturally competent, patient-centered care. I look forward to networking, collaborating, and learning together with others on this exciting journey!
Thank you for reading and sharing your feedback and ideas.
Robert C. Like, MD, MS