- Determine if their own and partnering agencies are culturally competent and if they have the capacity to reach and work with diverse populations.
- Identify how most effectively to reach and work with culturally diverse, rural and other underserved populations while soliciting input from those groups.
This section is designed to help Arthritis Foundation (AF) chapters, state health departments and their partnering agencies to reach out and meet the needs of those with arthritis in underserved populations through AF evidence-based programs. While most of the examples and content relate to culturally diverse groups, the basic principles and approaches are also relevant to rural populations and other hard-to-reach groups.
Activities are sometimes begun for culturally diverse populations or other special groups because funding becomes available to serve that group. A local foundation or other funding source such as United Way may provide funds to agencies that provide services to an underserved inner- city or rural population. When funds are gone, the program ends. Outreach and services to culturally diverse and other underserved populations should only be undertaken when your organization has sufficient manpower and financial resources and is committed to a long-term effort. Among other tasks, your organization must be willing to involve community members as leaders in this process. To help you be more effective in your work with special populations, this section provides suggestions for how to accommodate cultural differences and barriers, as well as tips for getting the targeted groups more involved.