Optometric Care within the Public Health Community Cultural and Linguistic Competencies

Y Chu, Tawada Goode, Y Chu, Tawara Goode
unpublished
In the United States, there is a growing cultural diversity shift in ethnicity, language, and age. In many minority groups who are low income or uninsured, there are lower eye care utilization rates that may be related to attitudes and actions on the part of optometrists and ophthalmologists, including the lack of understanding and sensitivity of ophthalmologists and optometrists about successful communication strategies and interpersonal approaches that are culturally and age appropriate.[1]
more » ... e appropriate.[1] Without health care organizations, health care providers and staff who are courteous and respectful in a culturally competent manner, a trusting relationship with the patient will not be developed and the cycle of inequality will be perpetuated. This chapter will explore the relationship between culture and health, language access, and the role individuals, optometric practices, and the profession play in the never ending journey towards cultural competence. Objectives 1. To provide an understanding of the relationship between CULTURE and HEALTH. 2. The role of the Cultural Competence of health professionals in providing appropriate and quality health care to culturally heterogeneous population groups. 3. The importance of linguistic appropriateness in the functioning of health care services. Rationale for cultural and linguistic competence in Health Care In the past 50 years, there have been significant improvements in the health status of individuals. Many of these improvements have been attributed to advances in technology, biomedical and pharmaceutical research, understanding of diseases, health promotion, and disease prevention. One would expect all these positive changes to reflect all segments of the population, unfortunately not all have benefited equally. This pattern of disparity is seen in the incidence of illness, disease, and death and is evident in health care outcomes and utilization [2] in many groups of people, not just minorities who are low income or uninsured. It transcends socioeconomic status and is equally present among individuals from specific racial groups despite income and access to insurance. Disparities permeate virtually every area in health care delivery including optometry and ophthalmology. There are lower eye care utilization rates that may be related to attitudes and actions on the part of optometrists and ophthalmologists, including the lack of understanding and sensitivity of eye care professionals about successful communication strategies and interpersonal approaches that are culturally
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