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Cultural Competency Overview

Defining Cultural Competency

Cultural competency is part of the "art" of medicine, characterized by awareness, sensitivity, respect and understanding of the human differences (i.e. cultures and world views) that patients seeking healthcare may possess.

Cultural competency requires the physician to be aware and knowledgeable about the following facts or issues:

  1. Illness and disease vary across cultures.
  2. Beliefs systems and attitudes about health, healing and disease are diverse.
  3. Cultural attitudes affect patient-doctor relationships.
  4. All aspects of culture are not uniformly expressed or shared within or across groups.
  5. Optimal patient care requires that the patient-doctor relationship is a trusting one that defies interpersonal or intercultural differences.


Informative and knowledgeable reference pieces to guide our understanding of the nature and etiology of disparities, especially as it relates to cultural competency.

commonwealth foundationkaiser family foundation

Last modified: Sep 28, 2018