Health care is an industry that has been, and always will be, steeped in compassion. It’s a necessary part of the job in order to heal both body and mind. However, in the pursuit of compassion for all, differences in cultures are sometimes forgotten and, in that misstep, we also miss providing the best health care that we can.
Cultural sensitivity and the integration of being culturally sensitive or competent into the medical field is something that must be done consciously, but it’s not an impossible task. The National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) is spearheading the effort for this cultural integration by releasing a toolkit that looks to help any underserved minority populations. The “Practical Guide to Implementing the National CLAS Standards” toolkit is broken up into 6 parts, with 2 additional appendices and an index for ease of access. These parts outline the various hurdles that a practitioner may face along with more culturally competent solutions aimed at decreasing rampant health care disparities across the United States. This resource, which can be accessed here, focuses on eliminating the care discrepancy that those in minority populations feel, whether that be because of a language barrier or another cultural difference based on race, sexual orientation, or gender. Organizations will be much better equipped to handle these underserved populations and, because of the shift in what it means to truly provide care, the United States’ health care disparity should decrease.