Cultural competence must not leave anyone behind

Publication Date

12 October 2023

Publication Author

Chimaraoke Izugbara, et al.

Cultural competence is a comprehensive understanding of cultural norms. In academic research, it refers to expanding one’s horizons by learning more about the context, history, culture, beliefs, and socioeconomic and political realities of the studied individuals1. In health research, cultural competence may help to prevent inequalities in access to health services1. However, cultural competence must be more than just understanding dominant cultural norms.

For it to contribute to more equitable health research, cultural competence must also include an understanding of internal cultural variation and minoritized groups. For example, LGBTQ+ people are ‘invisiblized’ in some societies in Africa in terms of dominant cultural norms, but recognizing their identities would lead to better, more-equitable health research.

Read the full commentary from Dr. Chimaraoke Izugbara, ICRW’s Director, Global Health, Youth & Development, and other by clicking the link below.


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