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Cultural Competency 'Paramount' In Delivering Adequate Medical Care

Armen Hareyan's picture

The Orange County Register on Tuesday featured an interview with American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons Diversity Board Chair Ramon Jimenez, who discussed the importance of cultural competency in medical care.

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AAOS has launchedits own culturally competent care program, which seeks to educatephysicians on cultural sensitivity in an effort to improve quality ofcare. In the interview, Jimenez said the cultural competency in medicalcare is "paramount at this time, particularly when we realize that theminority population will reach 50% in the U.S. in the next 30 years."He added, "I'm not saying that every doctor needs to know the nuancesabout every race and ethnicity. But we need educational materials so wecan give patients from different cultures ideas on what to expect intheir treatment and so on. After all, just because you learn about anAsian patient's needs, you can't be expected to know about the culturaldifferences of 33 Asian countries."

According to Jimenez, a"patient should be able to rely on the doctor's cultural knowledge" todeliver adequate care because only 7% of communication is verbal. Inaddition, Jimenez said, "Patients who get turned off trying to talk toa doctor or cope with the health care system itself may wait untilproblems become greater before seeking treatment. This means greaterfinancial expense and use of the health care system" (Haas, Orange County Register, 11/27).

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