Cultural Competence Does Not Equal Color Blindness

Health care disparities and quality of care for ethnic groups are well documented. The National Healthcare Disparities Report (NHDR) published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services provides thought-provoking examples about how health providers relate to ethnic groups. The evidence suggests that providers are not as helpful to non-Whites, were less responsive, administered less medication, provided incomplete discharge instructions and communicated poorly. This data indicates that there are differences in how providers deliver health care services in response to the color of a patient’s skin. Furthermore, the NHDR documented that racial and ethnic minorities often receive poorer quality of care and face more barriers in seeking care including preventive care, acute treatment, or chronic disease management, than do non-Hispanic White patients. This mindset is indeed serious when it impacts the quality of care of racial, ethnic and socio-economic groups in the U.S. In fact, this is so serious … Read More