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How can professionalism improve relationships with physicians

Cultural competence is the ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures. In practice, both individuals and organizations can be culturally competent. Culture must be considered at every step of the Strategic Prevention Framework (SPF). “Culture” is a term that goes beyond just race or ethnicity. It can also refer to such characteristics as age, gender, sexual orientation, disability, religion, income level, education, geographical location, or profession.

Cultural competence means to be respectful and responsiveto the health beliefs and practices—and cultural and linguistic needs—of diverse population groups. Developing cultural competence is also an evolving, dynamic process that takes time and occurs along a continuum.

To produce positive change, prevention practitioners and other members of the behavioral health workforce must understand the cultural context of their target community. They must also have the willingness and skills to work within this context. This means drawing on community-based values and customs and working with knowledgeable people from the community in all prevention efforts.

Practicing cultural competence throughout the program planning process ensures that all members of a community are represented and included. It can also prevent wasteful spending on programs and services that a community can’t or won’t use. This is why understanding the needs, risk and protective factors, and potential obstacles of a community or specific population is crucial.