Racial Disparities, Equity and Cultural Proficiency
California has a population of 38.8 million (12% of the nation’s population and approximately 12%, or 9,150,549, of the nation’s children). The number of children in California alone is equivalent to the number of children residing in 22 other states combined. Although California is the world’s 6th largest economy, 15.9% of Californians and 22% of its children live in poverty. California’s population is among the most ethnically diverse in the nation, with 38.4% Hispanic, 6.6% African American, 14.1% Asian, 0.5% Pacific Islanders, 3.7% of two or more races, and 1.7% American Indian. Twenty-seven percent of Californians are foreign born, compared to 12.9% nationally.
Los Angeles County is home to one third of the state’s population and one third of the state’s child population—a number which is greater than the population of 17 individual states. Over 80% are children of color: 62.7% Hispanic, 9.8% Asian, 7.2% African American, 0.3% Pacific Islander, 0.1% American Indian, 16.9% White and 3.1% Other. In Los Angeles County, 135 languages are spoken – the highest number of any U.S. county. Individuals at the intersection of race/ethnicity, disability, and low income are at risk for poorer health, developmental, employment, and other desired outcomes of the DD act, due to limited health literacy, limited English proficiency, lack of familiarity with and skills in navigating service systems, in addition to other factors. The USC UCEDD is committed to engaging in activities to assure equity for underserved populations with or at risk for developmental disabilities through the following projects, activities and initiatives.
- Minor in Developmental Disabilities for upper division undergraduate students in collaboration with the College of Health and Human Services of California State University Los Angeles (Cal State LA), a Minority and Hispanic Serving Institution.
- MCHC/RISE-UP LA, Maternal Child Health Careers/Research Initiatives for Student Enhancement (MCHC/RISE UP), a CDC Undergraduate Public Health Scholars Program to diversify the public health workforce.
Community Education and Information Dissemination
- Build the capacity of Minority community-based organizations to represent the interests of underserved and underrepresented CLD group. The following are organizations which the UCEDD has assisted to expand the services they provide to underserved racial, ethnic, and linguistically diverse populations
- Reaching Latino and Chinese Families (RLCF) is a Community Parent Resource Center funded by the Office of Special Education Programs, US DOE. The UCEDD provided technical assistance to submit their first application for this competition facilitating the partnership between Fiesta Educativa, Inc., and the Chinese Parents Association for the Disabled. This program is in its third cycle of funding as a Community Parent Resource Center (CPRC).
- Training minority parent organizations (Fiesta Educativa, Inc., Chinese Parent Association for the Disabled, Japanese Speaking Parents Association for Children with Challenges) to participate in Public Meetings of Regional Centers to address racial, ethnic, and linguistic disparities in Regional Center POS (Purchase of Service) authorization, expenditures, and utilization.
- Chinese Self-Advocacy Group Empowered (Chinese SAGE)—Supporting the development of a self-advocacy group within the Chinese Parent Association for the Disabled
- Wisdom Council, Leadership Institute for Cultural Diversity and Cultural and Linguistic Competence, National Center for Cultural Competence, Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development.
- Filipino Family Initiative: Engaging Immigrants in Faith-Based Preventive Parenting Interventions (PI: Javier; Co-PI: Coffey)
Completed – past 5 years
- Project Intersect: Addressing Health Disparities at the Intersection of Race/Ethnicity and Disability (AUCD/CDC RTOI) 2009-2013 (Wheeler, Co-Investigator)
- Autism in Urban Context: Linking Heterogeneity with Health and Service Disparities NIMH 2011-2013 (Yin, Poulsen, Williams, Co-Investigators)
- Disseminating Scientific Information on Autism to the Latino Community NIMH 2009-2012 (Wheeler, Co-PI)
- A Model for inclusion of Minorities in Genetic Research NHGRI 2008-2010 (Wheeler, Co-PI)
- Member and former chair, Multi-Cultural Council, AUCD
- UCEDD Workforce Diversity Workgroup, Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disability
- Addressing racial, ethnic, and linguistic disparities in California Regional Center POS (Purchase of Service) authorization, expenditures, and utilization
- Member, Task Force on Equity and Diversity for Regional Center Autism Services, California Senate Select Committee on Autism and Related Disorders, 2013-2014 Legislative Session.
- Testimony--Racial/Cultural/Linguistic Disparities in Service Delivery: Implications for Disability Policy and Practice. Invited Assemblymember James Beall Roundtable, October 3, 2007, State Capitol. leading to AB 302 (Beall), 2009 (failed)
- DD network Partners (2010) Removal of AB 2204 (Beall) from Suspense