cultural humility

What is Cultural Competency?

Cultural competence seeks to build one’s understanding of minority cultures and focuses on gaining knowledge. Cultural competency calls for one to memorize a set of traits connected to or a set of questions that you need regarding specific groups of people. This method is goal-oriented, with a defined end point. However, it enforces the idea that one can actually be “competent” in a culture other than their own and that cultures are somehow monolithic and static.

What is Cultural Humility?

Cultural humility is an alternative way of approaching cultural competency. It does NOT call for us to memorize a set of stereotypes or stereotypical questions to ask.

Cultural humility instead focuses on how to develop a set of skills to approach any individual from any culture at any time. Cultural humility encourages lifelong learning and reflection and attempts to diminish the power dynamics between individuals.

Why is Cultural Humility important?

Practicing cultural humility and approaching every patient, colleague, or person with humility and an open mind will help mitigate the unconscious biases that can negatively impact our daily interactions and that have shown to contribute to health care disparities.

What you can do

Be aware that we all often make assumptions about others based on their culture and background.

Ask open questions and practice reflective listening. Others are the experts on their own lives.

Realize that you have the opportunity to practice cultural humility during interactions with everyone, not just during patient interactions.

Key Partnerships