Cultural Competency

The Oregon Medical Board’s mission is to regulate the practice of medicine in a way to promote access to safe, quality care for all Oregon citizens. However, Oregonians are growing increasingly diverse, and inequities in access to quality health care are apparent. Racial and ethnic populations, lesbian gay bisexual and transgender communities, low literacy level individuals and rural Oregonians experience severe health disparities according to the Oregon Health Authority’s Office of Equity and Inclusion. Training in cultural competency is one tool to bridge this gap, improve health outcomes and enhance patient safety.

Cultural competency continuing education is a life-long process of examining values and beliefs while developing and applying an inclusive approach to health care practice in a manner that recognizes the context and complexities of provider-patient interactions and preserves the dignity of individuals, families and communities. Continuing education in cultural competency should teach attitudes, knowledge and skills to care effectively for patients from diverse cultures, groups and communities. The Office of Equity and Inclusion states that such training enables health care providers to work effectively in cross-cultural situations.

The Board recommends and encourages licensees to pursue ongoing continuing education opportunities for cultural competency. For purposes of maintenance of licensure, the Board considers continuing medical education (CME) in cultural competency to be relevant to the current practice of all licensees, and licensees may use this type of continuing education toward satisfying the required CME hours for license renewal. The Board will document licensees’ voluntary participation in cultural competency CME through the license renewal process beginning in 2015.

In order for Oregon to achieve the triple aim of improving health, improving care, and lowering cost, providers must be responsive to the needs of diverse populations. Cultural competency training for health care providers is one method for helping Board licensees adapt to the needs of Oregon’s socially and culturally diverse communities.

- Adopted October 2013