Policy Brief 1: Rationale for Cultural Competence in Primary Health Care

Elena Cohen, Tawara D. Goode

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Summary:

Nationally, health care organizations and programs are struggling to respond effectively to the needs of individuals and families from racially, ethnically, culturally and linguistically diverse groups. This policy brief is divided into two parts. The first part examines why there is a need to incorporate cultural competence into the health care system. These include, among others, the need to respond to demographic changes in the United States, the need to eliminate disparities in the health status of different ethnic groups, the need to improve the outcomes of health programs, and the need to meet legislative mandates. The second part discusses policy-making implications for primary health care organizations and programs. Current health care initiatives lack the policies, planning procedures and institutional structures that support culturally competent practices at the community level. Systematic efforts must be implemented by policy makers to effect change and improve the quality of services to culturally diverse groups. A checklist to facilitate the development of culturally competent health care policies is provided, as well as ten sources for additional information. (Contains nine references.) 

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Bibliographic Information:

Elena Cohen, Tawara D. Goode. Policy Brief 1: Rationale for Cultural Competence in Primary Health Care (1999). National Center for Cultural Competence: Washington, DC. (12 pages).

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National Center for Cultural Competence
Georgetown University Child Development Center
Washington, DC
20007

URL: http://nccc.georgetown.edu

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