Australian Journal of Primary Health Australian Journal of Primary Health Society
The issues influencing community health services and primary health care
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Cultural competence in the community health context: ‘we don’t have to reinvent the wheel’

Mandy Truong A E , Lisa Gibbs A , Yin Paradies B , Naomi Priest C and Maryanne Tadic D
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Jack Brockhoff Child Health and Wellbeing Program, Centre for Health Equity, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne, Level 5/207 Bouverie Street, Carlton, Vic. 3053, Australia.

B Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, Burwood Highway, Burwood, Vic. 3125, Australia.

C ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods, Australian National University, Beryl Rawson Building, Ellery Crescent, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia.

D Population Health Unit, Merri Health, Sydney Road, Coburg, Vic. 3058, Australia.

E Corresponding author. Present address: ANU Centre for Social Research and Methods, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 2601, Australia. Email: mandy.truong@anu.edu.au

Australian Journal of Primary Health 23(4) 342-347 https://doi.org/10.1071/PY16073
Submitted: 14 June 2016  Accepted: 1 May 2017   Published: 13 July 2017

Abstract

Health and social service agencies need to be responsive to the healthcare requirements of culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) groups in the community. This is a challenging proposition, particularly due to shifting demographics in developed Western countries such as Australia. Organisations that strive for cultural competence can potentially reduce the barriers associated with inequitable access to services by CALD groups. Community health services play a vital role in the provision of culturally competent health services to people from CALD groups. Additional research related to cultural competence in the community health context is needed. Thus, the aim of this paper is to explore the positioning of cultural competence within community health from multiple perspectives using a qualitative case study of a community health service located in Victoria, Australia. The findings suggest that if the essential needs of clients are met, regardless of cultural background (e.g. able to communicate with staff, trust and a respectful and caring environment), then issues related to cultural background may be of less significance for some clients.

Additional keywords: culturally and linguistically diverse groups, health inequities, qualitative study.


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