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UCLA Health Human Resources

Cultural Competency

Cultural Competency Training

Culture is defined in health care as the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social groups; also, the characteristic features of everyday existence (as diversions or a way of life) shared by people in a place or time (Merriam-Webster's Online dictionary). It guides the decisions and actions of a group through time.

Cultural competency is defined as:

  • An ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures.
  • It comprises of four components:
    (a) Awareness of one's own cultural worldview,
    (b) Attitude towards cultural differences,
    (c) Knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews, and,
    (d) cross-cultural skills.
  • Developing cultural competence results in an ability to understand, communicate with, and effectively interact with people across cultures. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_competence#cite_note-0)
  • To deliver culturally appropriate and specifically tailored care to patients with diverse values, beliefs, and behaviors.

Cultural Competency and the Joint Commission Standards

Joint Commission has studied cultural competence and in particular, standards to advance effective communication, cultural competence and patient-centered care in hospitals building on the work of the Health, Language, and Culture study.  The standards will be implemented fully in January 2011.

Specifically the Joint Commission Standards require:

  • The hospital must orient staff on the following: Sensitivity to cultural diversity based on job duties and responsibilities. HR.01.04.01
  • Staff participate in education and training that is specific to the needs of the patient population served by the hospital. HR.01.05.03

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