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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. Oregonians are growing increasingly diverse, and inequities in access to quality health care are apparent. Achieving equity of health outcomes requires that we first acknowledge that current inequities are not acceptable, that we gain a better understanding of what contributes to inequity, and that we commit to addressing inequities.

The Oregon Medical Board recommends the following as a basis for inspiring positive change for the benefit of all patients:

1. Focus on self-reflection and culturally competent practice
Licensees are encouraged to engage in self-reflection, understand their own conscious and unconscious biases, and consider the impact on the provider-patient relationship. The extent to which providers engage in self-reflection, consider how their own cultural view and biases influence patient care, and then adjust their practice, depends heavily on provider self-motivation to make change. Initiatives to embed cultural competency into all areas of practice, professional development, policies, and processes are essential.

2. Acknowledge systemic racism
Some patients may have difficulty engaging with health professionals or with the treatment prescribed due to systemic issues. It is important to acknowledge that systemic racism and privilege exist in the health sector in order to meaningfully address this problem. Providers can reflect on their own cultural views and biases as a first step, then work to influence and support positive changes in their institutions and organizations.

3. Collect and use data for equity monitoring
Health care providers need access to robust and accurate data to identify inequities and address problematic structures and processes.

4. Overcome structural barriers to individualize care
Short clinical visits focused on only the patient's immediate needs results in a relationship which is largely transactional. To strengthen the provider-patient relationship and provide culturally competent care, providers must consider the individual patient's practices, values, and beliefs. Tailoring the clinical visit to the individual can ensure the patient's input is respected and valued.

All Oregon Medical Board licensees are required to complete cultural competency continuing education to care effectively for patients from diverse cultures, groups, and communities. Participating in cultural competency continuing education is a way to gain a better understanding of Oregon's socially and culturally diverse communities and to foster a commitment to addressing health care inequities.

- Adopted October 2013
- Amended, April 1, 2021




The Oregon Medical Board holds licensees to recognized standards of ethics of the medical profession, specifically for this philosophy: American Medical Association's Code of Medical Ethics: Opinion 9.121 Racial and Ethnic Health Care Disparities; American Association of Physician Assistants' Guidelines for Ethical Conduct for the PA Profession: The PA and Individual Professionalism-Competency; and Oregon Association of Acupuncturists' Code of Ethics: 1.1 Competence.

ORS 677.190(1)(a) and ORS 677.188(4)(a)



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