Contact: Susan Preston
CODEY SIGNS BILL TO IMPROVE MEDICAL CARE FOR MINORITIES
New Law Requires Cultural Competency Training for Doctors
3/23/05—Acting Governor Richard J. Codey today signed legislation that
will improve medical care for minorities by requiring cultural competency
training for New Jersey physicians.
"We have an obligation to recognize the unique needs of our
diverse community, and one area where we need to be especially sensitive
to the needs of minorities is health care," Codey said during
a ceremony at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey's
School of Osteopathic Medicine.
Codey said it is important for physicians need to know that asthma,
hypertension, AIDS, Sickle Cell Anemia and several types of cancer
affect minorities at greater rates. Health care professionals also
must be aware of unique cultural beliefs that may affect the health
care decisions their patients make, he said.
"This new law will help provide equality in medical care
by requiring that New Jersey physicians take special training to
diagnose and treat conditions that are prevalent among minorities,"
The bill, S144, requires New Jersey physicians to take cultural
competency in order to obtain a medical license from the State Board
of Medical Examiners. Physicians who already have their medical
licenses will need to complete the training as a condition of renewing
"The practice of denying critical care to patients is both
immoral and unfair, and it is time to end the discrimination,"
said Senator Wayne R. Bryant, D-Camden and Gloucester, the bill's
sponsor. "This new law shows that the State is concerned with
ending health care disparities and is working to solve the issues
plaguing minority patients.
"It is the responsibility of New Jersey's health sciences
university to prepare culturally competent health care providers,
who now, as a result of this legislation, will be provided with
educational programs to help them keep abreast of the necessary
knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to care for New Jersey's
diverse population," said Dr. Maria Soto-Greene, chief of
staff and vice president of the University of Medicine and Dentistry
of New Jersey.
UMDNJ is developing a Center of Cultural Competency that will establish
training programs to address the needs of an array of professionals
at the medical school and throughout New Jersey.
--March 23, 2005