"Achieving Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the I/DD Space: The Essential Role of Cultural and Linguistic Competence"

Tawara Goode

We in intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) lag far behind other fields in efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). In fact, not only is DEI often used as an acronym, many fail to discern the difference between the meaning of these related yet different terms, concepts, and practices. Of particular significance is equity, which has become the term of choice among many in human services. Yet, we have yet to define equity, and more specifically, what it means in the I/DD space. This plenary presentation will: a) explore these concepts and their meaning in the I/DD contexts; and b) delineate the role of cultural and linguistic competence in our collective efforts to advance DEI.

Key Learning Points
- Define and differentiate diversity, equity, and inclusion in the I/DD context.
- Define culture and cultural diversity.
- Describe frameworks for cultural and linguistic competence and their implications for advancing DEI in I/DD supports and services.

Presented By

Tawara Goode is an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. She has been on the faculty of the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (GUCCHD), for over 30 years and has served in many capacities. She has degrees in early childhood education and education and human development.

Professor Goode has extensive experience as a principal investigator for federal and private sector grants and contracts. A primary area of focus for Professor Goode is national-level efforts to advance and sustain cultural and linguistic competence within an array of settings including but not limited to institutions of higher education, health, mental health, and other human service systems. Professor Goode is the director of the Georgetown University National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC). The NCCC has been in existence for the past 27 years during which Professor Goode has served as director for 24 years. The mission of the NCCC is to increase the capacity of health care and mental health care programs to design, implement, and evaluate culturally and linguistically competent service delivery systems to address growing diversity, persistent disparities, and to promote health and mental health equity.

Professor Goode is acknowledged as a thought leader in the area of cultural and linguistic competence and for building the NCCC into a nationally and internationally recognized and award-winning program. She had a primary role in developing curricula, assessment instruments, professional development series, and other resources that support cultural and linguistic competence. Professor Good has been an invited scholar, lecturer, and visiting faculty: a) nationally to schools of medicine, public health, education, research institutes, professional associations, and state and national government; and b) internationally in Australia, South America, and the United Kingdom.

Professor Goode is also the director of the Georgetown University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (GUCEDD) and is responsible for short-term and ongoing programs for individuals at-risk for and with developmental and other disabilities and their families. Her duties include program development, administration, and teaching within the University and community settings. She served as the principal investigator for three grants of national significance from the Office of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Administration on Disabilities, Administration for Community Living within US Department of Health and Human Services. They include: 1) the Leadership Institute for Cultural Diversity and Cultural and Linguistic Competence (completed 2/20); Community of Practice on Cultural and Linguistic Competence in Developmental Disabilities (ongoing); and Embedding Cultural and Linguistic Competence in UCEDD Curricula and Training Activities (completed 2/19). Each of these grants were designed to: 1) increase the number and capacity of leaders to advance and sustain cultural and linguistic competence to respond to the growing cultural diversity among people with developmental disabilities; and 2) develop curricula and professional development for current and future professionals that will teach, provide supports and services, and conduct research with and about people with developmental disabilities, their families, and the communities in which they live.

Professor Goode continues to conduct research on cultural and linguistic competence and its role in addressing health and health care disparities. Selected examples of studies include: 1) a collaborative effort to create validated instruments to measure cultural and linguistic competence in health care settings; 2) a multi-site project to examine health disparities for populations at the intersection of race, ethnicity, and disability; and 3) a community-engaged study to examine if barriers to participation in research by racial and ethnic groups (other than non-Hispanic White) can be reduced by “truth and reconciliation” community forums designed to acknowledge past injustices and exploitation committed by researchers and research institutions and to foster reconciliation.

Professor Goode was a Co-PI for a PCORI study entitled “Reconciling the Past and Changing the Future: Engaging Young Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Researchers in Comparative Effectiveness Research,” and is an investigator for a PCORI supplement entitled “Understanding the Impact of COVID-19 on Young Adults with IDD-MH and their Families: An Analytical Framework and Database to Identify Service Experiences and Outcomes Across Diverse Populations in Real Time” (completed 1/31/22). Most recently, Professor Goode is collaborating with the University of New Hampshire, Center for START Services, Johns Hopkins University Kennedy Krieger Institute, and the University of Florida to implement a five-year PCORI study entitled “Evaluation of telehealth services on mental health outcomes for people with intellectual and developmental Disabilities.” She has in the past and continues to serve on a number of research grants including but not limited to Georgetown-Howard Universities Center for Clinical Translational Science, University of Massachusetts Medical School CTSA, and the Georgetown University Center for Excellence in Health Disparities in the Nation’s Capital.

Professor Goode holds an adjunct appointment with the University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Since 2012, she provided consultation to assist the University of Sydney to establish a National Centre for Cultural Competence in partnership with the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Indigenous Strategy and Services. For the past ten years she has assisted the University of Sydney in faculty development, curricula adaptation, community engagement, and research focused on cultural competence in academic settings.

Professor Goode’s publications include peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, policy papers, guides, and instruments that support cultural and linguistic competence in a variety of human service and academic settings. Professor Goode has and continues to serve on numerous boards, commissions, and advisory groups at the local, regional, and national levels that are concerned with the health, mental health, and well-being of racially and ethnically diverse populations. She serves on the Board of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) and is the past president (2021-2022). Professor Goode and the NCCC have received numerous awards for academic achievements.