What is Cultural Competence

Culture is described as the combination of a body of knowledge, a body of belief and a body of behaviour. It involves a number of elements, including personal identification, language, thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions that are often specific to ethnic, racial, religious, geographic, or social groups. For a provider of health information or health care, these elements influence beliefs and belief systems surrounding health, healing, wellness, illness, disease, and delivery of health services. 

The concept of cultural competency has a positive effect on patient care delivery by enabling providers to deliver services that are respectful of and responsive to the health beliefs, practices and cultural and linguistic needs of diverse patients.

Why is cultural competency important?

Cultural competency is critical to reducing health disparities and improving access to high-quality healthcare, health care that is respectful of and responsive to the needs of diverse patients. When developed and implemented as a framework, cultural competence enables systems, agencies, and groups of professionals to function effectively to understand the needs of groups accessing health information and health care—or participating in research-in an inclusive partnership where the provider and the user of the information meet on common ground.

What The Heart Health Initiatives and Research do to promote cultural competence?

We strive to help eliminate cardiovascular health risk and overall health disparities within racialised and ethnic groups by implementing culturally appropriate heart wellness schemes while promoting a healthy lifestyle and active living. 

Can cultural competency make a difference?

Cultural competence benefits consumers, stakeholders, and communities and supports positive health outcomes.

Because a number of elements can influence health communication — including behaviours, language, customs, beliefs, and perspectives — cultural competence is also critical for achieving accuracy in medical research. Poor planning in medical research, planning that does take into account principles of cultural competence, may yield inaccurate results.