Published on March 27, 2008
International Continuing Education and Clinical Practicum Opportunities in Speech Pathology: International Continuing Education and Clinical Practicum Opportunities in Speech Pathology Katandria Love Johnson, MA MS-CCC SLP/ITA K&K Services University of North Texas Health Science Center Public Health Department (UNT HSC) Abstract: Abstract An increasing number of culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) populations live in the US. Yet, the field of speech-language pathology faces a shortage of professionals with the competencies requisite to service such populations. In this presentation, several national and international clinical practicum and continuing education opportunities will be discussed to address these competencies. Statistics: Statistics The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (2001b) reports speech pathology is one of the 30 fastest growing occupations for 2000-2010. Yet, increasing shortages of qualified speech pathologists are available to serve the 69.9% of non-English speaking US children in elementary and secondary schools. Statistics, cont.: Statistics, cont. One of the greatest challenges faced by the United States healthcare system is how to provide cost-efficient, culturally and linguistically competent healthcare services to racially and ethnically diverse populations. This challenge is due to several issues ranging from disparity of healthcare services among such populations, to language barriers, and to the dearth of bilingual and bicultural healthcare professionals who can provide these services. Statistics, cont.: Statistics, cont. Between 1991 and 1998, the U.S. admitted 7.6 million immigrants, 3.1 million of which were Latin American (2006). A more striking statistic is the 8.7 million unauthorized migrants living in the U.S., 5.4 million, or 62 percent of whom are Hispanic. Mexican descent immigrants comprised 3.9 million (45%) of these immigrants. Statistics, cont.: Statistics, cont. These communities are usually low-income and most susceptible to a disparity in services because they lack the residency status and financial means to access healthcare. Mullan (2005) reported that an estimated 1.5 million legal and illegal immigrants arrive in the United States each year. Of this number, about 43 percent of immigrant children live in low-income families, and nearly one-third do not have health insurance (p.2). Educational and Professional Issues: Educational and Professional Issues Problems including increase healthcare costs, decreased health among these populations creates a great impact on the future of healthcare professionals’ effectiveness in the communities served. In response to these issues, degree programs and professionals are seeking ways to improve healthcare access and services. Educational and Professional Opportunities, cont.: Educational and Professional Opportunities, cont. There are various ways a professional can develop the skills needed to work with CLD populations. Even though the current ASHA database of speech pathologists who practice internationally is sparse, contact with these professionals via e-mail and conventions can create mentorships and live chats regarding speech-language-hearing issues among CLD populations. Educational and Professional Opportunities, cont.: Educational and Professional Opportunities, cont. These contacts may be international professionals as well as Americans who are temporarily or permanently working abroad. Another choice may include traveling abroad to develop or sharpen your linguistic and cultural competencies through language immersion or volunteer work. Educational and Professional Opportunities, cont.: Educational and Professional Opportunities, cont. There are many agencies which provide varied services requisite to travel abroad (language courses, internships, volunteerships, international health insurance, housing airport pick-up, etc.) for a one-time fee. AmeriSpan was my choice and comes highly recommended. You may choose to go through your university or a local travel agency. Regardless, it is imperative to obtain all contacts and information needed to complete the project type and length. State and National CEU Opportunities: State and National CEU Opportunities Our state and national organization provide several options: 1) Independent study; 2) Continuing education-approved workshops; 3) International article journal reviews; 4) University coursework; and 5) Self-study article submittals, under the listed special interests divisions provided by ASHA. State and National CEU Opportunities, cont.: State and National CEU Opportunities, cont. My travels resulted in a research paper titled “Cross-cultural perspectives of disability views among culturally and linguistically diverse populations.” Additionally, at the conclusion of the experience in Mexico, I was invited to continue volunteering at a private clinic in Puebla, Mexico, which provides occupational, physical, special education, and psychological services for community families. State and National CEU Opportunities, cont.: State and National CEU Opportunities, cont. The first consideration any student or professional must consider when traveling abroad is whether one is mentally and physically prepared for the cultural and linguistic changes that accompany such an assignment. Secondly, you must collaborate with university advisors when carefully evaluating continuing education programs, your career objectives and the feasibility of traveling abroad. State and National CEU Opportunities, cont.: State and National CEU Opportunities, cont. In other words, what are the pros and cons for international experiences/studies in comparison with those within the United States? Will continuing education credits be awarded? Who will supervise and ensure that the tasks scheduled will be fulfilled? State and National CEU Opportunities, cont.: State and National CEU Opportunities, cont. When entering a foreign country, one must be prepared for cultural and linguistic differences. Reading about countries ahead of time and becoming aware of their customs is pertinent for successful and less stressful experience abroad. Information regarding cultural immersion may be found on Amerispan.com, the United States website on travel website: www.travel.state.gov and www.cdc.gov/travel/. Private Practice Opportunities: Private Practice Opportunities Speech pathologists may opt for volunteer work at a particular site within a foreign country. This opportunity is currently offered at a private clinic in Puebla, Mexico. Mrs. Leticia de la Llata is the coordinator of CEDI clinic, which provides occupational, physical, musical, special education, and psychological services for community families of Puebla. Private Practice Opportunities, cont.: Private Practice Opportunities, cont. Her clinic is comprised of a small elementary school, individual and group therapy treatment rooms, and a gym. Over ten therapists and thirty patients are housed in this facility. We are collaborating with local private school, the University of the Americas (UDLA), to formalize an international exchange program that will allow universities and professionals access to more volunteer, clinical practicum and continuing education hours (CEUs). Private Practice Opportunities, cont.: Private Practice Opportunities, cont. The pilot program was implemented in summer 2005, allowing students from the University of Texas at Austin to obtain: 1) Observation, assessment and treatment hours; 3) TSHA-approved CEUs. The international contacts mentioned in this presentation were obtained from research conducted in Europe, Canada, the Caribbean, Central and South America. Discussion: Discussion As economic and immigration ties continue to grow among other countries, the US will need to prepare itself to service CLD populations. If development efforts are successful in offering more continuing education and clinical practicum opportunities in our profession, the prospects of meeting these needs will increase. As professionals, we must continue to: Discussion, cont.: Discussion, cont. Encourage training and collaboration of personnel in general fields such as allied and public health, medicine, education and vocational rehabilitation through local and international mentor programs and continuing education teleconferences (www.un.org, n.d.); Increase sociocultural and sociolinguistic content in undergraduate and graduate coursework, practicum and CEU workshops/conventions; Discussion, cont.: Discussion, cont. Advocate for the establishment of state licensure board regulated programs which provide the healthcare professional with opportunities to attend international conferences, teleconferences and international mentorship programs for CEU credit; and Increase the number of and accessibility to affordable immersion and exchange programs. These programs will provide service professionals innovative methods to increase linguistic and cultural competencies as well as the opportunity to improve the services provided in less developed countries. Conclusion: Conclusion A working proficiency in the language and culture of the CLD populations we serve is requisite to effect long-term treatment outcomes. More importantly, understanding critical cultural differences will give healthcare professionals insight on how populations’ needs can be met. In order for a healthcare professional to meet the current challenges requisite to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate assessment and treatment to various racially and ethnically diverse clients, they must: 1) learn more about their own culture and how it compares/contrasts to the culture with which services are being rendered; Conclusion, cont.: Conclusion, cont. 2) Cultivate mentorships through electronic and written forms of communication with individuals who can serve as cultural informants, (people whom one can question their perceptions of a culture with one who is a native of that culture); and 3) attend continuing education events that will sharpen their professionals skills for the various issues that may arise while working with CLD populations. References: References Audiology and Phoniatrics Department, General Hospital of Mexico. (2006). Retrieved January 1, 2006 from: http://www.hgm.salud.gob.mx/ Andrulis, D. P. (2003). Reducing racial and ethnic disparities in disease management to improve health outcomes.[miscellaneous]. Disease Management & Health Outcomes, 11(12), 789-800. Bonilla, J. (2001). Executive summary: a demographic profile of Hispanics in the U.S. Retrieved March 13, 2006 from: http://www.prcdc.org/summaries/hispanics/hispanics.html Clancy, C. M., & Chesley, F. D. (2003). Strengthening the health services research to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in health care.[miscellaneous article]. Health Services Research, 38(5). Cornes, A., & Napier, J. (2005). Challenges of mental health interpreting when working with deaf patients.[article]. Australasian Psychiatry, 13(4), 403-407. Prevention and disability. Retrieved July 4, 2003, from: http://www.un.org/esa/socdev/enable/ diswpa04.htm - top Healthcare interactions with deaf culture. (2005). May-Jun; 18(3) : 218-22. Retrieved from: http://www.jabfp.org/cgi/content/full/18/3/218 Schools for the deaf. (2006). Retrieved January 1, 2006 from: http://deafness.about.com/gi/dynamic/offsite.htm?zi=1/XJ&sdn=deafness&zu=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sitiodesordos.com.ar%2Fot_mx_educacion.htm Szczepura, A. (2005). Access to healthcare for ethnic minority populations [Electronic version.]. Postgraduate Medical Journal, 81, 141-147. Tarrant County Public Health 2004 Annual Report. (2006). Texas: Tarrant County. The Mexican Institute for Hearing, Speech and Language. (2006). Retrieved January 1, 2006 from: http://www.sitiosdesordos.com.ar%2Fot_mx_educacion.htm Tomoeda, C. and Bayles, K. (2002). Cultivating cultural competence in the workplace, classroom, and clinic. The ASHA Leader, 7, 4-5; 17.