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Cultural competence is a key component to Maine’s public health policy and COVID vaccine outreach

Cultural competence is a key component to Maine’s public health policy and COVID vaccine outreach

As the rate of COVID-19 vaccinations slows down across the U.S., state governments are using various tactics to entice more adults to get their shots, but effective public health strategies to address this pandemic need to be as diverse as the populations they serve. In an emergency, when every vaccine shot counts, an array of nonprofits are stepping up to connect every Mainer to the healthcare they need.

“I want to promote vaccinations, but I also want to have empathy and understanding before I start designing my approach,” said Lisa Sockabasin, MS, RN and leader at Wabanaki Public Health & Wellness (WPHW). WPHW supports Maine’s Tribal Public Health District, a division of Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services. This unique cooperative governing structure is one of only a few in the nation, serving Indigenous people from the four bordering tribal communities of the state—Passamaquoddy, Penobscot, Maliseet and Micmac.

In healthcare, cultural competence is defined as the ability of providers and organizations to deliver services that meet the social, cultural and linguistic needs of patients. People from all backgrounds might have some level of mistrust in medical science or systems, but existing and persistent historical trauma continues to influence how communities of color view the medical establishment.

Click here to read the full article in the Portland Press Herald

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