Biomedical Competency


The training and evaluative processes for healthcare practitioners should address the following principles, capabilities and knowledge:


  • Culture forms an important part of the identity of every care receiver
  • Communication of cultural understanding and respect is an essential tool in forming an alliance with a care receiver
  • Culture-related stresses are known to induce illness
  • Health beliefs affect care receiver's understanding and acceptance of care
  • Nonverbal and verbal communication may differ in meaning by culture
  • Culture-related behaviors, e.g., assumptions, values, traditions, dietary regulations, etc., affect care receiver's implementation of care plans


  • Language [non English] proficiency at least to the extent of being able to conduct care receiver interviews and physical examination in the care receiver's language
  • Ability to communicate an understanding of care receiver's culture as a means of strengthening the care receiver-provider relationship
  • Ability to elicit the care receiver's understanding of his/her illness or health concern
  • Ability to recognize culture related health problems
  • Ability to negotiate a culturally relevant care plan with the care receiver as a therapeutic ally
  • Ability to interpret patient verbal and non verbal behaviors in a culturally relevant manner


  • Common foods of the cultural group and their nutritional composition
  • Family structure and the roles of family members
  • Traditional health beliefs and practices
  • Predominant cultural values, e.g., harmony, dignity, acceptance of suffering, etc.
  • Attitudes and customs surrounding death
  • The significance of common verbal and nonverbal communication by culture
  • Common trans-cultural tensions experienced by the target group living in American culture
  • Symptoms of "culture shock syndrome"


  • Cultural immersion or rotation
  • Exposure as part of the curricular education/preparation process
  • Interim assistance of cultural experts
  • Community based clinics
  • Diversity training designed to raise sensitivity