Training child and adolescent psychiatrists to be culturally competent

Document Type





Cultural competence is the ability of health care professionals to communicate with and effectively provide high-quality care to patients from diverse sociocultural backgrounds. Aspects of diversity include—but go beyond—race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, and country of origin.1 In response to the increasing diversity of many industrialized societies, educational efforts have been aimed at educating medical trainees to address the needs of a heterogeneous patient population. It is imperative that the child and adolescent psychiatric community prepare for the changing world to provide appropriate, accessible, and quality clinical care. The first step toward this goal is to understand the role of culture and cultural competence in clinical care. As the field of cultural competence has evolved, the goal has moved from educating clinicians in the categorical approach—that of becoming skilled at knowledge, attitudes, and practices of a particular cultural group of patients—to a focus on the development of a set of skills and framework. This culturally competent therapeutic stance is an orientation that places medicine and patients in a social,cultural, and historical context. The overall aim is the open acknowledgment of the dignity and autonomy of, and delivery of high-quality medical care to all members of society, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, language, geographic origin, or socioeconomic background


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Clinics of North America