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Cultural Sensitivity

  • In: Encyclopedia of Epidemiology
  • Edited by: Sarah Boslaugh
  • Subject:Public Health (general), Public Health Research Methods , Epidemiology & Biostatistics

Cultural sensitivity refers to the process by which health research and intervention respond to the cultural belief systems, behaviors, experiences, and social context of populations. Culturally sensitive approaches acknowledge that conceptualizing determinants of health behaviors and outcomes, conducting research, and creating interventions to reduce disease risks may not rely on universally applied predictors, methods, or settings. In addition, certain constructs may not have the same meaning or may be experienced differently in diverse groups. In epidemiology, cultural sensitivity has relevance to both study design and health promotion.

When conducting research, a culturally sensitive approach is necessary from the beginning of the study design. To appropriately consider the role culture plays in health, local experience and cultural norms must be built into the study methodology. That is, ...

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