Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

Oregon Health & Science University's understanding of cultural competency

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  • The United States population continues to increase and diversify. The cultural composition within the United States embodies a multitude of people from a variety of belief systems, religious backgrounds, and ethnicities. Within current biomedical practice, many of these differences are often marginalized, leaving populations with unsatisfactory experiences in seeking health care. Cultural competency attempts to address those differences in health care delivery. Many health care institutions are striving to become more culturally competent yet there is not a common understanding of what cultural competency means. In addition, there are many obstacles that limit the implementation of cultural competency in health care delivery. This thesis examines the need for cultural competency in health care, addressing the lack of understanding between institutions regarding cultural competency and assessing its understanding at one particular institution. Recent research at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Oregon has provided new insight to the discussion of cultural competency and how uniquely it can be defined in a single institution. Qualitative interviews were conducted with medical students, physicians/physicians-in-training, administrators and nurses/CMA in order to uncover how cultural competency is defined as well as the issues that are involved when delivering culturally competent health care. By being aware of an institution's cultural composition and understanding of cultural competency can help that institution enact health programs and policies that have a better chance of representing and respecting the populations they serve.
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