Building the Case for Cultural Competency in Healthcare Practice and Higher Education

Article excerpt

Do we really want to demonstrate cultural com- ' petency in teaching, research and service? On the surface, this seems to be a simple question that many scholars and clinicians would positively affirm. Yet, an analysis of the numbers of rninority faculty reveals a persistent theme of the underrepresentation of African American, Native American Indian and Hispanic faculty members in tenured and tenure-track positions at colleges and universities in the United States (Nelson, Brammer & Rhoades, 2007; Moreno, Smith, Clayton-Pederson, ?., Parker, S. & Teraguchi, D., 2006 ). This matters because the present condition of the lack of minority faculty has serious implications for the future of higher education and healthcare. Current realities are likely to mirror the future. Therefore, underrepresented minority faculty members are needed today to mentor and inspire students for careers in teaching, research and healthcare practice. In addition, a diverse faculty culture provides the foundation for directing, implementing and evaluating research that is focused on cultural competency. In this issue of the Journal of Cultural Diversity, the authors build the case for the practice of cultural competency.

In the first article, Olavarria, Beaulac, Belanger, Young, and Aubry addressed the standards for defining culturally competent community health and social service organizations and present a self-assessment tool for evaluating cultural competency at the organizational level.

In the second article, Wros, Doutrich, and Ruiz conducted a study of Hispanic nurses to gain an understanding about nursing from the perspective of Hispanic Nurses in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. The key themes in the findings and recommendations of this study contribute to the literature related to providing culturally competent healthcare at the patient and organizational levels.

Leslie and Bitenas report on an epidemiological study entitled Differential Tuberculosis Deaths Among a Late Nineteen and Early Twentieth Century New York City Population: An Analysis of Death Certificate Data. …