The Oregon Medical Board is proud to announce its publication of Cultural Competency: A Practical Guide for Medical Professionals. This booklet was published in June 2017 and sent to all Board licensees practicing in Oregon. The booklet is available electronically here:
"I WILL NOT PERMIT considerations of age, disease or disability, creed, ethnic origin, gender, nationality, political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, social standing or any other factor to intervene between my duty and my patient." World Medical Association Declaration of Geneva (May 2006)
The above excerpt of the Declaration of Geneva, sometimes called the Modern Hippocratic Oath, calls on health care professionals to provide the best care to each individual patient. In that spirit, and in light of known health disparities among various groups of people, the Board encourages Oregon physicians, physician assistants, and acupuncturists to obtain cultural competency continuing education. Any educational hours in this area will be considered relevant to a licensee's practice and may be used to fulfill the required continuing education for license renewal
The Legacy of Dr. Unthank
DeNorval Unthank, MD, was an African American doctor who lived life boldly facing adversity and improving the lives of Oregonians. Dr. Unthank graduated from high school at the age of 16, attended the University of Michigan for his undergraduate studies, and went on to Howard University where he earned his medical degree in 1926.
Dr. Unthank moved his family to Portland, Oregon, in 1929 where he would be the only African American doctor for over 10 years of his medical career. Dr. Unthank persistently served the Portland area and went from not being allowed in hospitals to eventually being on staff at four Portland area hospitals. The Oregon State Medical Society named him Doctor of the Year in 1958. Dr. Unthank retired from his practice in 1970 having served a richly multicultural group of patients.
Alongside an influential medical career were Dr. Unthank's numerous contributions to Civil Rights. He cofounded the Portland Urban League in 1945 and was accepted as the first African American member of the Portland City Club. Additionally, he was a driving force behind the Oregon Civil Rights Bill passed in 1953. In 1977, Dr. Unthank passed away having greatly impacted medicine and Civil Rights in Oregon.