Cultural competence is ethical

A new paper to be published in the Journal of Medical Ethics takes on cultural competence where it relates to the practice of medicine:

Increasing cultural competence is often cited as a way to reduce healthcare disparities arising from value and cultural differences between patients and providers. Cultural competence entails not only a knowledge base of cultural practices of disparate patient populations, but also an attitude of adapting one’s practice style to meet patient needs and values.

In order to promote the provision of the best care, which certainly is the ideal for the healthcare practitioner, the paper specifically addresses Muslim patients in the context of their religious and cultural norms.  However, the cultural competence concept could be extended to patients of other religious/cultural origins, and to beyond the healthcare arena as well.

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