Addressing Health Inequities Through Structural Competency
Haverford College. Department of Anthropology
Place of Publication
Table of Contents
Haverford users only
Cultural competence refers to the ability to identify cross-cultural expressions of illness and health, and to thus counteract the marginalization of patients by race, ethnicity, social class, religion, sexual orientation, or other markers of difference. To gain cultural competency, clinical professionals learn approaches to communication and treatment that take into account instances of stigma. Cultural competence was first used by Terry L. Cross and his colleagues in 1989, and is administered by healthcare professionals in a way that stereotypes understanding of the "cultures'' of patients and cultural competency tends to be used as a way for clinicians to create clinical narratives that prioritize biomedical reasoning. Despite the application of cultural competency, it is widely known that it lacks a component to address healthcare inequities in communities of color. In my thesis, I will discuss the 'culture' that exists within the American medical system, how cultural competency is administered by healthcare professionals, the shortcomings of cultural competency, and how incorporation of structural competency into the medical system can benefit patients from marginalized groups.