Monday, November 29, 2010

Multicultural Competence

WHAT: In the case study proposed I am an athletic trainer with no multicultural training, at an athletic training facility with no multicultural guidelines or resources.  It’s my duty to be a culturally competent professional and develop a program to promote the health and well being of my students and clients.  While developing this program I’ll consider staff guidelines, program materials, available resources, and interpersonal relationships that are inclusive and empowering for participants.
SO WHAT: Multicultural competence refers to the ability to work effectively with people who are of a different culture, which is essential when working with others (Gill & Williams, 2008).  Multicultural competence includes three general areas including: awareness of one’s own cultural values and biases, understanding of the client’s worldviews, and development of culturally appropriate intervention strategies.  When developing my program I plan to touch each aspect of D’Andrea and Daniels’ model of RESPECTFUL sport psychology, as described in the text, to promote the health and well being of my students and clients.
NOW WHAT: D’Andrea and Daniels’ model of RESPECTFUL sport psychology includes 10 factors to think about when dealing with people whose psychological development, athletic performance, and team membership are affected by cultural and contextual variables (Gill & Williams, 2008).  RESPECTFUL is an acronym which stands for religious and spiritual identity, economic class identity, sexual identity, psychological maturity, ethnic and racial identity, chronological challenges, trauma and threats to well-being (injury, abuse), family history, unique physical characteristics, and language, location of residence.  My plan will encourage students to keep all these factors in mind when dealing with athletes in and outside the training room.
                Obviously multicultural education should be a critical element for all athletic training education programs.  Regardless of an athletic trainer’s particular professional setting or responsibilities most individuals are confronted with issues of race, sex, class, and culture on a daily basis.  As the head athletic trainer in this particular setting it’s my duty to engage students in meaningful and critical instruction on how to confront these issues. 
The first thing I would do as the program director is ensure my peers and those working under me are multicultural competent.  I would establish staff guidelines on how issues like these should be appropriately dealt with.  After I was confident in my staffs abilities to handle such situations I’d have each student sit down with his/her individual Approved Clinical Instructor  and improve self-awareness by challenging them identify their own personal history, race, ethnicity, and culture.  Individuals must be able to identify these aspects within themselves before being able to effectively communicate with others.  The next thing I would do is create a class for the students they are allowed to take during their first year in the program, which promotes student dialogue, exploration, and sharing among the group.  Allowing the students to communicate within a group can help individuals loosen up and possible change their negative feelings.  Assigning assignments which require students to include pertinent issues relative to diversity, race, culture, and discrimination can help instructors better understand student beliefs.  I would encourage students to take other courses the university offers that may help promote deeper, more critical levels of thinking.  Courses like cultural anthropology, woman’s studies, social problems, religious studies, non-western culture classes, psychology and physiology classes, and many others like this.  Courses like these that are universally offered will help to give student a solid background on multiculturalism.  Having other university instructors give their insight into these aspects of multiculturalism may be helpful to students.  I would definitely require students take a Sports Psychology course like we’re required to now.  The last thing I would do is require the students in the program attend diversity training at least once a year.  I would make it a yearly requirement which must be completed prior to beginning his/her clinical observation hours, just like OSHA training.
CONCLUSION: It’s obvious that multicultural competence is important in all heath related profession, especially athletic training.  Regardless of health professional’s particular setting or responsibilities most individuals are confronted with issues of race, sex, class, and culture on a daily basis.  For a professional to deal with these issues correctly he/she must have the appropriate course instruction or guidance which is my goal as the head athletic trainer at this setting.
Geisler, Paul R.  “Multiculturalism and Athletic Training Education: Implication for Educational and Professional Progress.” Journal of Athletic Training 38.2 (2003): 141-151.
Gill, D.L., & Williams, L. (2008). Psychological dynamics of sport and exercise (3rd Ed.). Champain, IL: Human Kinetics

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