Cultural competence for the 21st century dermatologist practicing in the United States

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Abstract

Significant health disparities exist among under-represented minorities in the Unites States, which can partially be accounted for by the quality of patient-physician interaction. A distinguishing factor of this interaction is the ability of the provider to demonstrate cultural competence, or address the social, cultural, and community influences on healthcare behaviors and incorporate these elements into patient care. However, this practice has yet to be universally implemented in our healthcare system. These factors become even more important as the racial, ethnic and cultural distribution of the United States population changes. Multiple studies have suggested that cultural competence of the health care provider and staff leads to improved patient adherence, satisfaction, and ultimately, health outcome. Cultural competence in the workplace also leads to efficient and cost-effective healthcare and better community integration into healthcare systems. The purpose of this review is to help dermatologists understand the benefits of culturally competent care for their patients and themselves and identify methods and resources to achieve this goal.

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