Public Health Matters: The Significance of Language, Cultural Competency in Health Care


Tune into this episode of "Public Health Matters" to learn about the importance of cultural competence when addressing health care disparities and promoting health equity in diverse communities as well as special guest Dr. Jose Cucalon Calderon's advocacy work.

In this special episode of Public Health Matters, Dr. Christina Madison and special guest, Dr. Jose Cucalon Calderon emphasize the steps that need to be made in improving both language and cultural competency in health care. They also discuss Dr. Cucalon Calderon’s advocacy work—particularly in vaccine advocacy—in public health, preventative health services, and health equities in underserved communities.

Check out the video here.

About the Guest

Jose Cucalon Calderon MD FAAP is a Board-Certified Pediatrician practicing as an Associate Professor of Pediatrics for the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine after training in General Pediatrics at the University of South Alabama followed by working in Rural Alabama. Currently sited at Renown Children’s in Reno, Nevada, Dr. Cucalon Calderon is a well-known anti-tobacco and e-cigarette, preventive health services, minority health and health care access advocate both in his state of practice, at the national and international level. He serves as the Nevada Chapter of the AAP’s E-cigarette Chapter Champion and Vaccination representative as well as in multiple advisory and academic roles across our state.

Being a native of Ecuador, Dr. Cucalon Calderon has experience on connecting non-English speaking families to preventive health services and among his special interests are tobacco related health care disparities, ethnic minority over representation of tobacco product use, chronic disease prevention, mental health destigmatization, mentorship and cultural humility in patient care and medical education.

Key Topics Discussed:

  • Dr. Cucalon Calderon's advocacy work—particularly in HPV vaccination and addressing stigma—as well as how his background helped influence his career.
  • The importance of language and cultural competency in health care, especially when serving diverse populations.
  • Challenges in accessing preventive health care services, particularly among Latino communities.
  • The significance of accurate, trusted messengers in public health to educate while combating misinformation.
  • Barriers to health care access, including language barriers and Medicaid medication management issues.
  • Strategies for health care providers to collaborate with other professionals to improve health outcomes in patients' communities.

Key Takeaways:

  1. Trust in health care is crucial, and being a trusted messenger within a community can significantly impact health outcomes for patients.
  2. Understanding any cultural nuances and language barriers is essential for effective communication with patients while improving their access to and understanding of health care services.
  3. Collaboration among health care providers—including pharmacists—is necessary for holistic patient care and improving health outcomes within underserved communities.
  4. To promote health equity for minorities, health care providers should prioritize patient-centered care and cultural humility while addressing the social determinants of health to promote health equity.

Listen on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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