Closing the Gap on Cultural Competency

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Culture includes all aspects of an individual including ethnicity, race, gender, nationality, socioeconomic class, age, religious affiliation and sexual orientation. Cultural competency is a major issue that needs to be addressed in order to in closing the disparities gap in health care. Developing cultural competency enables patients and doctors to communicate about health concerns without cultural differences hindering the conversation. Closing the Gap on Cultural Competency

Cultural competence is obtaining information about cultural beliefs, behaviors, and needs and then applying that knowledge to develop awareness that effectively communicate and work with individuals from other cultures in their community. One of the largest barriers to becoming culturally competent is that many of the visible aspects of culture are associated with stereotypes. When these stereotypes are used as the sole source of information, they can lead to inaccurate assumptions. Other barriers to cultural competence include lack of knowledge of resources to learn about other cultures and fear or intimidations of approaching individuals from other cultures and discussing their culture with them. School curriculum should include programs for cultural competency. A culturally competent program should “value diversity, conducts self-assessment, addresses issues that arise when different cultures interact, acquires and institutionalizes cultural knowledge, and adapts to the cultures of the individuals and communities served.” (Advocates for Youth, 2004). Students should not only learn about other cultures but become aware of oneself, identifying who they are culturally. Students should become aware of their culture and how things like gender, skin color, native language, education, and their own culture influences their personal belief system. Culturally competent healthcare is important, it means optimizing quality care by being respectful of and...
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