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Cultural Competency in Healthcare

This guide is an introduction to resources on Cultural Competency and Healthcare from the MCPHS Libraries and other online sources.

Welcome

This guide is an introduction to resources on Cultural Competency and Healthcare from the MCPHS Libraries and other online sources. The goal of this guide is to provide students and faculty a starting point for learning and teaching about this topic.

If you don't find what you're looking for or have any questions, please contact the library!

What is Cultural Competence?

According to the National Center for Cultural Competence:

"There is no one definition of cultural competence. Definitions of cultural competence have evolved from diverse perspectives, interests and needs and are incorporated in state legislation, Federal statutes and programs, private sector organizations and academic settings. The seminal work of Cross et al in 1989 offered a definition of cultural competence that established a solid foundation for the field. The definition has been widely adapted and modified during the past 15 years. However, the core concepts and principles espoused in this framework remain constant as they are viewed as universally applicable across multiple systems."

The definition of cultural competence from Towards a Culturally Competent System of Care (Cross et al, 1989) is the following:

"Cultural competence is a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency or among professionals and enable that system, agency or those professions to work effectively in cross-cultural situations."

"The word culture is used because it implies the integrated pattern of human behavior that includes thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values and institutions of a racial, ethnic, religious or social group. The word competence is used because it implies having the capacity to function effectively."

"Five essential elements contribute to a system's institution's, or agency's ability to become more culturally competent which include:

  1. Valuing diversity
  2. Having the capacity for cultural self-assessment
  3. Being conscious of the dynamics inherent when cultures interact
  4. Having institutionalized culture knowledge
  5. Having developed adaptations to service delivery reflecting an understanding of cultural diversity

These five elements should be manifested at every level of an organization including policy making, administrative, and practice. Further these elements should be reflected in the attitudes, structures, policies and services of the organization."

Check out other definitions for cultural competence in the links below!

Credit

This guide was a collaborative effort between Natalie Hutchinson and Sarah Callanan.

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