Thursday, January 26, 2006

Cultural Competence

I learned a new phrase today. Here's how it happened: I was listening to a news broadcast on KFI-AM in Los Angeles. The newsbabe was lamenting over the "fact" that there are not enough medical doctors in the heavily hispanic areas of Los Angeles who are "culturally competent."

No definition was given during the very short news break, and so I decided to Google it and see if I could make anything intelligible out of it.

Lo! The first on a pages-long list of entries on "cultural competence" is the National Center for Cultural Competence at Georgetown University. I looked under a link that purported to offer a Definition of Cultural Competence. The link leads to text headed "Definition and conceptual framework of cultural competence."

I don't see a definition there. What I see is a lot of what organizations are required to do to achieve "cultural competence." I confess that I didn't take a lot of time to try to analyze this list, because it appeared to be a lot of shrinkanese double-talk--mixed, of course, with a couple of parts of undecipherable professional jargon.

What it seems to boil down to is that, if you're a physician not of hispanic heritage, you will be unable to treat patients of hispanic heritage. I think.

It won't do to merely learn Spanish, oh, no, no, no! You'd still be an Anglo who speaks pretty good Spanish. Only a Hispanic can treat a Hispanic. Only a Hispanic can know the subtleties that will translate to successful treatment of individuals who have the Hispanic temperament.

Using that thinking, of course, a Black individual could only be treated by a Black physician and there'd by a like requirement with respect to people of Chinese or Norwegian heritage.

Obviously, this is all racist nonsense. If there's a language issue, the physician must either be able to converse smoothly in the patient's language, or have a good translator at hand. Aside from that, we're all pretty much the same except for the differences in individuals that pretty much transcend race.

There are some illnesses that seem to key on certain racial or societal groups, but all competent physicians who keep up to date are aware of them.

So, let's put this "cultural competence" nonsense in the dustbin along with Jim Crow laws and coolie laborers, shall we? After all, I was treated by a Black doctor once and two Asian doctors at various times in my life. They did just fine. They were obviously "culturally competent."

Here I am writting about what appears to be another instance of political correctness but, not being a physician myself, I can easily imagine that there can be issues in this area of which I'm unaware. Corrections can be made in my Comments area.

They've killed Freedom! Those bastards!

Warm regards,

Col. Hogan
Stalag California

1 comment:

Ol' BC said...

Wow, using that logic, all the Indian doctors in the heartland would be in big trouble. The are several doctors for each engineer.