Vanderbilt Kennedy Center

Tawara Goode, Keynote Speaker

Tawara Goode, Keynote Speaker

VKC Disability Conference Explores Cultural and Linguistic Competence

Updated on 12/1/2011 1:52:53 PM.

How culture intersects with disability was the focus of the Disability and Cultural Diversity Conference, which took place on November 15, 2011, in Nashville. Over 100 individuals who work with immigrants and refugees and with interpreter and disability service agencies took part.

Sponsored by the Multicultural Outreach Program of Tennessee Disability Pathfinder, Conference speakers defined multicultural awareness and focused on values, principles, attitudes, and policies impacting the delivery of disability services to culturally diverse individuals and their families. Content highlighted the cultural perspectives of refugee, immigrant, rural, and African-American populations.

Tawara Goode, M.A., director of the National Center for Cultural Competence and associate director of the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development, delivered the Conference keynote address.

"Because we come from our own individual cultural contexts, we may find ourselves looking in a metaphorical mirror in our interactions with others," said Goode. "Oftentimes, we falsely see a reflection of our own experiences instead of getting a true sense of their experiences. In order to truly be culturally competent in our work and interactions, we have to get through to the other side of the glass and see the perspectives of others. We are so immersed in our own cultures and in seeing through our own eyes that we can miss authentic relationship with one another."

Goode went on to define cultural and linguistic competency, to highlight characteristics of culturally and linguistically competent organizations, and to root those characteristics in the context of change.

Panelists addressed the cultural perspectives of rural, underserved, and African-American populations and also focused on how cultural values affect the care of children and adults with disabilities.

Video from the Conference will be made available on the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center website in the coming weeks.

The Disability and Cultural Diversity Conference also received support from David Lipscomb University and Meharry Medical College, Department of Pediatrics.

For more information, contact (615) 875-5084,

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