Cultural Competence in Dermatology

October 1, 2021

Woman being checked for melanoma

Acknowledging cultural differences, keeping an open mind, and showing empathy go a long way toward improving the patient’s care experience.

Kassahun Bilcha, MD

As the United States becomes increasingly diverse, cultural competence is becoming more and more important, not only in our daily lives, but especially in health care delivery. According to the US Census Bureau’s latest batch of race-ethnic population estimates, nearly four in 10 Americans identify with a race or ethnic group other than white; data suggest that the 2010 to 2020 decade will be the first in the nation’s history in which the white population declined in numbers.

THE BOTTOM LINE

As the United States becomes increasingly diverse, cultural competence is becoming more and more important, especially in health care delivery. Representation matters in health care, and cultural competence of the health care provider and staff leads to improved patient adherence and satisfaction. As physicians, we must work harder to better understand and acknowledge the social and cultural norms and differences of certain populations and incorporate that knowledge into practice to provide our patients with proper and quality health care. Learning certain cultural practices and beliefs can give healthcare providers the context they need to better understand disease processes and diagnosis. The most important step any doctor can take is to acknowledge cultural differences, keep an open mind, and show some empathy.

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Source: Practical Dermatology | Cultural Competence in Dermatology

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