Competence club profile

Madeline S. Scharf Report

Founded in 2014, the Cultural Competence Club has been an organization focused on social justice and understanding, specifically within the healthcare community.

Joan Black, an instructor for those learning about communication disorders, is also the club advisor. She opens each meeting, but “The club is majority student driven. My goal is to empower the students’ decisions.”

Club President and communication disorder major Jane Marlor, a senior, oversees the club’s agenda and plans. “I send out emails and reminders every other week for our Zoom meetings on Thursdays,” said Marlor. “There are certain topics every time.”

The topics vary greatly, but often surround the subject of healthcare. “This club mostly consists of future healthcare providers,” said Marlor. “Our main goal is to educate deeply on the topics of minorities in these systems.”

Despite the club being focused on those in healthcare, it is not exclusive to that career path. “Everyone can benefit from this club,” said Marlor. “From future healthcare workers to people looking to understand those of different backgrounds.”

The club is very encouraging of new members from all fields and levels of cultural competency. “If you are in, say, marketing for example, you will have to deal with people from all walks of life. If you are dealing with people, this club can offer you growth,” said Black. “We encourage people to stop in for one of these meetings. We will help educate people with any level of cultural competency.”

The club explores many different issues that people in healthcare, and real life, may face. “This week, we are discussing undocumented immigrants and their place in American healthcare,” said Marlor. This topic effects not only those in health services, but those politically active as well. “We will also be discussing the COVID-19 vaccine for undocumented immigrants as well,” said Marlor.

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected the club both in topic discussion and activities. “I have only been president during this semester,” said Marlor. “My classes, everything, is online. It is strange. But we have been doing things virtually, safely. Our topics also surround the pandemic, too.”

Despite bi-weekly Zoom meetings, the pandemic has taken a toll on the Cultural Competency Club. “I think right now it’s a difficult time to have outreach,” said Marlor, “I hope I can usher in an era post-COVID where there can be more things, fundraisers and such.”

The club use to be more service-oriented. Black described an event that was planned where students “would make support bags for the homeless.” It was a communal event where anyone would be able to make bags, but due to the pandemic, it had to be cancelled.

Key social and political events spurred the change in the once service-driven club. “The protests and unrest last summer showed that their needed to be a shift in our societies cultural understanding,” said Black. “This change was really student driven, they wanted to know more information.”

For now, the club remains more information-based. “Credit to Jane (Marlor) — she does an amazing job of putting together readings and topics,” said Black. The meetings are spent reviewing readings and going over these informative materials.

However, as the vaccine rollouts continue to succeed, and life begins to take a sense of normalcy, there is hope for more active club participation. “We want to do more outreach with underserved populations,” said Black.

“Having these conversations help,” said Black. Having the space to discuss important issues for people from all walks of life is vital in an ever changing world.

The club is not going to stay strictly information-based forever. Black looks towards fall semester with hope. People who want to be more active in the community will be able to get involved in the coming months. “Service events will probably come back again soon,” said Black.

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