Cultural competence (also called cultural competency) is an educational field of practice that has gained currency over the past 2 decades within medicine, psychiatry, nursing, social work, public health, counseling, and other allied health professions. First introduced during the 1980s, cultural competence serves as an umbrella term and refers to an integrated knowledge base and skill set which enables professionals to work respectfully that effectively with individuals, families, and communities from diverse cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Cultural competence extends to institutional and organizational policies and practices that support the reduction of health and mental health disparities through improving patient–provider communication, workforce diversity, and community engagement. This entry reviews key components of cultural competence as they relate to practitioners and institutions/ organizations, describes some of the ...

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