Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD) New Efforts in Cultural Competency (MD UCEDD/LEND)

April 9, 2018

(L-R) Dr. Tami Trottier, Dr. Jacqueline Stone, Jen Chen, Amanda Lay
(L-R) Dr. Tami Trottier, Dr. Jacqueline Stone, Jen Chen, Amanda Lay

The MCDD has undertaken a strong focus this year on improving our understanding and practices regarding cultural competency, diversity, and inclusion. A number of activities have contributed to this effort and are described in some detail below.

  • Staff and Community Advisory Council: The MCDD kicked off 2018 with meetings with staff and it CAC to focus on self-assessment in cultural competency, diversity, and inclusion. To facilitate these meetings, the MCDD brought in a diverse panel of people including a Native American psychologist from North Dakota, an African American disability leader from Kennedy Krieger Institute (KKI)/MCDD, a woman with a disability, and our new Diversity Fellow who identifies as Asian American and gender non-conforming. During this day of work, the MCDD identified strengths and areas for improvement, and planned for future efforts to be addressed by the MCDD.
  • Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND): The MCDD coordinated a LEND core course on Challenging Cultural Perspectives in which a panel facilitated a discussion about cultural perspectives and disability. This panel included a Native American psychologist from North Dakota, a self-advocate with People on the Go of Maryland, and a man on the autism spectrum that coordinates autism programs for Towson University.
  • KKI/MCDD Presentation: Following the LEND Core Course, the MCDD contracted with Dr. Tami Jollie-Trottier, a Native American psychologist from North Dakota, to provide a presentation on Native American perspectives on health, healing, and disability. The purpose of this presentation was to provide an initial exposure to clinicians and trainees on a diverse cultural perspective.
  • Meeting with the National Center for Cultural Competency: The Director of the MCDD, Dr. Christopher Smith, took two MCDD community health trainees to meet with the Director (and UCEDD Director) at Georgetown National Center for Cultural Competency (NCDD, Tawara Goode). The purpose of the meeting was to give the trainees to hear more about the work of the NCCC, to be exposed to some of the Center's tools and processes, and to give the trainees some time to ask important questions about leadership and cultural competency.
  • Neurodiversity: The MCDD is one of four internal Kennedy Krieger Institute groups currently working on a new Institute-wide effort regarding neurodiversity. This effort is especially focused on hiring people with diversity internally, as well as working with other agencies and businesses in Maryland to do the same. The MCDD has provided leadership in this area, including having two people with intellectual/developmental disabilities on our leadership team, and hiring as many as 15 people with disabilities last year as contractual trainers on a training project. These same individuals are providing critical input on the neurodiversity project, as well as on the Institute's new focus to make Kennedy Kreiger websites and products accessible to people with disabilities and representing different cultures and languages.
  • Diversity Fellowship: The MCDD was fortunate this year to be awarded a grant from the Administration on Community Living for a Diversity Fellowship. Diversity fellow Jen Chen was recruited in partnership with the Wendy Klag Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Ms. Chen has been working with the MCDD's self-advocacy partners, People On the Go (POG), to assess membership racial, ethnic, language, and other demographic data as part of an overall effort to evaluate is the group's diversity. In addition, Ms. Chen is working with POG and MCDD staff to collect evaluation data regarding the POG members' perspectives on the impact of group membership and their respective trainings and other POG activities.