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Mayor & City of Albuquerque Employees Participate in Cultural Humility Training

UNM Health Sciences Center provides training that enhances the quality of services provided to Native Americans

November 13, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE - The City of Albuquerque and the UNM Health Sciences Center’s Institute for Indigenous Knowledge and Development (IIKD) have created an educational partnership to promote services delivery, relationships, and an improved quality of life for Native Americans residing in Albuquerque. The interactive, four-hour workshop by IIKD is entitled “Cultural Humility: A Best Practice for Serving Native Americans in Albuquerque.” Over the coming year approximately 175 City leaders, staff, and health and social services grantees will participate in one of nine Cultural Humility Training workshops to be offered. 

“This training is an important first step for City leaders and service providers to begin understanding how to serve diverse populations in a way that honors their culture and dignity,” said Mayor Richard J. Berry.  “Serving the specific needs of the individual, while providing hope for a better future, provides for a more inclusive and stronger community”.

The Cultural Humility Training is intended as an orientation to the needs and cultural and social interactions of Native Americans residing in Albuquerque as well as to the tribal communities in New Mexico in general. Each workshop will include a brief review of Native American demographics, historical events, a timeline of federal policy impacting the lives of American Indians in New Mexico and nationally, a review of protocols when visiting tribal lands, exploration of the concept of cultural humility and the potential biases that exist in relation to perceptions about Native Americans, and a panel presentation by Native Americans who have experienced or who are currently experiencing homelessness in Albuquerque. Each workshop will be evaluated by the workshop participants and the results can be used by leaders of the city to identify strategies and policies for achieving meaningful services delivery and relationships that can lead to an improved quality of life for Native Americans living in the city.   

The date and location of the training hold local and national historical and contemporary significance for Native Americans.  A congressional resolution in 1990 and annually thereafter, established November as National Native American Heritage Month. It is often referred to in its more specific form as National American Indian and Alaska Native Heritage Month. November provides a focused opportunity for public education about tribes and American Indians living in metropolitan areas, including their unique challenges in historical and contemporary times, as well as the strengths of American Indians in determining their own futures.

For Native Americans residing in Albuquerque, the social determinants of their health might include such issues as unmet needs for housing, education, and employment, and infrequent opportunities for achieving social connectedness and for engaging in cultural practices. The wider set of forces and systems can include such things as lack of culturally-informed or culturally-centered healthcare and healthcare access, disrespect, racism, discrimination, marginalization, and isolation.