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This guide provides information on some of the known challenges and resources surrounding cultural groups successfully accessing health care.

Beliefs, Culture and Health

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"HealthCare Chaplaincy Network™ (HCCN), founded in 1961, is a global health care nonprofit organization that offers spiritual care-related information and resources, and professional chaplaincy services in hospitals, other health care settings, and online. Its mission is to advance the integration of spiritual care in health care through clinical practice, research and education in order to improve patient experience and satisfaction and to help people faced with illness and grief find comfort and meaning--whoever they are, whatever they believe, wherever they are."

This organization regularly updates their useful but not comprehensive publication, A Dictionary of Patient's Spiritual and Cultural Values for Health Care Professionals. It essentially describes the beliefs and practices commonly found within a particular cultural or religious group.

What is Cultural Competency in Healthcare?

10 Cultural Factors the Influence Health Care

10 Cultural Factors that Influence Health Care

-originally posted on the CAL Learning blog-

"In order to improve health care delivery and outcomes, providers must develop the cultural competence to serve patients from diverse cultures.

Western culture takes a biomedical approach to health care. However, many cultures take a more holistic approach that includes the body, mind, and spirit. Providers who work with the patient’s belief system, rather than against it or ignoring it, will have greater success in delivery and outcomes. Providers must also be aware of their own cultural filters in the health care delivery process.

To improve health care delivery and outcomes, providers should know the patient’s cultural views on:

  1. Role of family (roles of members, hierarchy, key decision-maker)
  2. Role of community
  3. Religion (impact on diet, beliefs about illness, treatment)
  4. Views on health and wellness
  5. Views on death and dying
  6. Eastern/western/alternative/traditional medicine.
  7. Beliefs about causes and treatments of illness, disease (physical and mental)
  8. Gender roles and relationships
  9. Sexuality,  fertility, childbirth
  10. Food beliefs and diet"


This LibGuide was created by Carol Jewett (now retired), Assistant Professor, Northeast Regional Center Librarian.

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