Cultural competence in fieldwork

As I have mentioned in my previous blog post. It is my very first time doing fieldwork in the US in public health (aside that I have done some in Haiti during the 2010 earthquake). Since I am doing outreach in 5 boroughs and am also reaching out all over the country, my population is rather diverse, with of course, people with food stamps as my primary target population. For this fieldwork I had to learn a lot about SNAP (supplemental nutritional assistance program) and Snap-ed (SNAP-education) in order to have a broader perspective on this topic and to also be able to discuss with anyone about it. When it comes to outreach at farmers markets, I can’t say that I have encountered lots of cultural barriers.

Coming from a country where there a lot of cultural differences has really helped me into ameliorating my cultural competence skills when it comes to dealing with people from different cultures. Some people at the farmers market did not feel comfortable leaving their contact information neither did they feel comfortable revealing their first name. So my internship partner and I had to be very patient and respect their choices after explaining to them that they have all the rights to keep their personal information. However we did explain to them that we do not divulge any information. We tried as much as we could to be cultural competent, after all it is part of our duty as public health professionals.

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