About Cultural Competency in Oregon (320)Page 7 of 8

6. Concluding Remarks

In recent years, much has changed in the United States. War, climate change, and political disruptions have led to population upheavals with an influx of people from other countries into the United States. Many immigrants arrive with precarious health, often due to the conditions in which they made the trip. Living conditions and the stress of acculturation can cause a rapid deterioration of a person’s health (Gradellini et al., 2021).

COVID-19 created immense inequities, widened income disparities, and fractured systems of global cooperation. The pandemic enabled those with money and power to expand their influence—making decoloniality, solidarity, and distribution of power, knowledge, and resources even more urgent. The fact that high-income countries reserved enough COVID-19 vaccine doses to vaccinate their own population multiple times over is a stark indication of power asymmetry in global health (Abimbola et al., 2021).

We have yet to truly understand of the impact of the COVID pandemic, which halted or reversed progress in health and shortened life expectancy. With 90% of countries reporting disruptions to essential health services, a decade of progress in reproductive health, maternal, and child health could be stalled or reversed. These problems are compounded by healthcare systems and healthcare providers who were stretched to their limits by the pandemic (UN, 2021).

It is important to understand the colonial conditionings of healthcare education. Practicing diversity and inclusion and localizing funding decisions can have a big impact on services. At both the individual and organizational levels, we must hold ourselves, our governments, and global health organizations accountable—especially for governance structures and processes that reflect a commitment to real change (Abimbola et al., 2021).

Cultural competency training provides tools that foster understanding and create respect for people from different cultures and lifestyles. This can help healthcare providers understand and relate to the differences and tailor care to best meet their needs. Implicit bias training helps providers identify and overcome their own unconscious biases and helps them understand how biases affect patient care.

Sustaining the effects of training requires changes in policy and visible support of organizational leaders. Rather than focusing exclusively on training others, leaders must look within their own approaches to equity and diversity. Leaders who model a more inclusive approach and integrate bias training with other initiatives to enhance inclusion and belonging within their organization will be more successful than those who rely on training alone (Sukhera, 2020).