The effect of culture on medical and mental diagnosis and treatment is one of the most overlooked issues in contemporary health care, psychiatrist Russell Lim says.
Lim was one of four recipients of a Chancellor's Achievement Award for Diversity and Community recognized Jan. 20 during a ceremony at the Chancellor's Residence.
The other 2004 honorees included pediatrician Richard Pan, graduate student Momar Dieng, and staff employee Griselda Castro.
This marked the third year for the Chancellor's Achievement Awards for Diversity and Community. They were established to honor achievements that contribute in substantial ways to the development and well-being of the UC Davis community. Faculty, staff and students are eligible for an award.
Lim, an assistant clinical professor in psychiatry at UC Davis Medical Center, believes education is the key to improving physicians' cultural competence and minority patients' quality of care. He advocates more training in cultural psychiatry for medical students and psychiatry residents.
"It is very important to diversity issues because not taking culture into account results in misdiagnosis and poor treatment outcomes," he said.
Lim teaches a cultural psychiatry course and is also developing a medical student lecture for Psychiatry 401 on cultural expectations between physicians and patients. He is the Medical Director at the Northgate Point Regional Support Team, which has been recognized as a national model for culturally appropriate services.
"Dr. Lim's department recognizes his efforts in cultural psychiatry and has named him its Director of Diversity Education," wrote Jesse Joad, assistant dean for faculty development and diversity, in nominating Lim.
In recognizing the award recipients, Vanderhoef said, "It is important that we acknowledge and honor contributions of this nature from our faculty, staff and students because this is what makes our campus a very special place to work, teach and learn."
Richard Pan, an assistant professor of clinical pediatrics, earned the award designated for Academic Senate members. One of Pan's nominators stated that he believes that "every single human being has a contribution to make toward the betterment of his community."
Pan is described as having "energized" the UC Davis Medical Center Department of Pediatrics. He was instrumental in launching an innovative program for pediatricians that gets the department out of the clinic and into various diverse neighborhoods to meet children's health care needs.
Under Pan's guidance, the Medical Center acquired one of 10 national grants from the Anne E. Dyson Community Pediatrics Training Initiative. This grant funds the UC Davis Community Partnerships with Pediatricians for Healthy Children -- the first pediatric training program of its kind in the nation, which provides medical residents with a grassroots experience in disadvantaged neighborhoods that are struggling to create the healthiest and safest environments for their children.
One of Pan's nominators, William Sandberg, observed that, "Among his many talents and fields of interest in community health, Dr. Pan understands the importance of political action and involvement in forming policy and legislation." Sandberg is the executive director for the Sierra Sacramento Valley Medical Society.
Griselda Castro, interim co-director at the Cross-Cultural Center, was chosen for the staff employee award. She has worked on campus since 1982 and has helped to encourage inclusion, access and equity within higher education and on campus. Castro has worked numerous special events, seminars, conferences, cultural weeks and community-building activities.
"I especially enjoy working with students because they are next generation of leaders," said Castro.
Janet Gong, assistant vice chancellor for student affairs, wrote in nominating Castro that "her commitments have served as an institutional presence of bienvenida to countless classes of incoming freshmen and graduate students, and she is constant in her conveyance of our pride, our promise, and our felicidades to them and to their families."
Gong describes Castro as "a force and the institutional face for our many students, a skilled mentor who knows when to lead our students and when to follow them."
Momar Dieng was selected for the graduate student award. A fourth-year doctoral student in mathematics, he is the president of the Galois Group, the official graduate student organization in the mathematics department.
Among his many activities, Dieng serves as a liaison between students and faculty, and has been successful giving students a forum and audience when there has been potential dissention, and is appreciated for encouraging dialogue between students and faculty.
"He tutors in the community, assists first-year students in preparing for the written preliminary exam, and is always available to answer a question or lend a hand," wrote Kami Larripa, a mathematics teaching assistant, in her nomination.
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Virginia Hinshaw said about the honorees, "Each of you provides a beacon of enlightenment to our university.
"I would also like to thank our faculty, staff and students for the effort made by all of you toward promoting diversity and building a more inclusive community."
Each recipient of the award also receives $1,000.