Cultural health is an education discipline that facilitates being in possession of accurate cultural information, leading to a productive psychosocial orientation to a culture or cultures. Cultural health implies intra and/or inter-cultural competence sufficient to produce effective cross-cultural communication. Cultural health has slightly different meanings depending on the context it is used in. This phrase is most often used in a people context or a professional context.
The people or personal context can be seen in discussions regarding national and ethnic cultural health.
National: focused on sufficient cultural literacy about the values, interests and principles of the nation a person or group lives in.
Ethnic: focused on having sufficient cultural literacy about the values, interests and principles of the ethnic group a person belongs to or interacts with.
The other context for cultural health is more profession oriented then people oriented. The two professions most interested in cultural health in this context are the medical profession and education profession.
Medical: focused on the cultural competence of medical professionals and organizations as required in the United States by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations JCAHO. The paradigm shift taking place in the medical profession, asserts that the health care provider that is culturally competent with respect to their patients will deliver more effective healthcare. In health care settings, access to interpreters can help patients better understand their conditions and reduce readmissions.
Educational: focused on the cultural literacy of its professionals and students. This is easily observed in the many new curricula that have relatively recently been implemented at United States colleges and universities. The curriculum of inclusion, African studies, Asian studies, European studies, Ethnic studies and other formal curricula have the intent of improving cultural health.
- "Revamped Processes and Systems Enhance Access to High-Quality Interpretation Services for Patients With Limited English Proficiency". Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. 2013-06-05. Retrieved 2013-06-06.