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CLS Class Highlight – Cultural, Social and Diversity Issues in HHSA

diversity issues

What class?

LSHA 5133 – Cultural, Social and Diversity Issues in HHSA

Why is it cool?

People with disabilities are the largest and most diverse minority group, but their unique culture is often overlooked. This issue, among others, highlights the need for healthcare professionals to understand and consider cultural diversity throughout the health helping process. Other common questions, like How can culture alter the health helping process? How do people discriminate? What role does stereotyping play in attitude development? and Why should you consider one’s race/ethnicity or disability/health status when developing health and rehabilitation plans? raise further concerns. These questions and more are discussed in Cultural, Social and Diversity Issues in HHSA.

This class is cool because it shines light on an issue that, while prevalent in human and health services, is not always discussed objectively or systematically. This class provides a foundation for understanding why issues like cultural diversity, disability, prejudice, discrimination, or stereotyping occur in the first place, and how to deal with them when they do. The course is designed to acquaint students with some of the social, cultural and other diversity issues human services professionals will encounter in the process of providing services to their clients or patients. The course also explores how one’s cultural and social environment impacts personal beliefs, and discusses the successful delivery of services in the context of understanding various belief systems.

The class begins by examining culture at a basic level. Students examine the underlying concepts of culture and cultural diversity, as well as the considerations that accompany living in a diverse nation. The class then focuses on the impact that prejudice and discrimination have on treatment of persons with disabilities and other health issues. Students are asked to articulate the rate and extent of disabilities among racial or ethnic minorities in the U.S., show knowledge of the some of the reasons people become prejudice, and discuss ways of eliminating negative attitudes and stereotypes. The final half of the class considers social issues and the future of the United States in regard to how it utilizes its human diversity. Causes of distrust and improvements for the future are carefully considered.

At its focus, this class is about the myriad cultures present in diverse societies and necessary processes for respecting them. Students leave this class with a better understanding of the relationship between people, cultures, health services and the world of which they are a part.

See what else is offered by the College of Liberal Studies.

Mary Wuestewald
Mary Wuestewald specializes in digital and content marketing at OU Outreach. In 2015, she earned a master's degree in Strategic Communication from OU’s College of Journalism and Mass Communication. She currently contributes to Insight magazine, the CLS blog and CLS social media efforts.

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