Communication is key between a doctor or nurse and a patient when their health is on the line. Friday, medical students at the University of Colorado's Anschutz campus learned how to better communicate with all of their patients.
"Sickness and disease do not discriminate," said Ama Owusu.
As a medical professional, a sometimes patient and a Black woman, Ama has seen how medical professionals can subconsciously discriminate against their patients.
"Some providers may not have experience with people from various backgrounds," said Owusu.
This could affect not only how patients are treated, but also whether patients will seek medical help when they need it in the future.
"That first encounter and those interactions ultimately determine whether they come back for care," said Owusu.
That's why she was a community observer for UCHealth's DEI Simulation. Actors play the role of patients so students can learn how to interact with patients from different cultures, genders and sexual orientations.
Carla Cruz is a medical student at Anschutz. She says this program helped her help people better.
"These things show up very differently in different communities," said Cruz. "We're all so different, and this training really provides an opportunity for us to not forget that we all come from different backgrounds and how to help them."
Pete Peters is one of the actors playing a patient. He says seeing these students learn and grow is incredibly rewarding, but more importantly, it's improving the healthcare system for everyone.
"You can see the light bulb go off and you can see the person saying, I got it. It's pretty cool," said Peters. "What we're doing today is to make sure that we help the patients of 5, 10, 15 years from now."
That is good news for not only him but also Carla, Ama and anyone who wants the best care possible no matter who they are.
"It's important to see that (patient) as another human being," said Owusu.
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