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Embracing Diversity and Cultural Competence


Adopting diversity management is not just a choice but a pressing need in the evolving health care landscape.

Diversity image - holding hands | Image credit: © seanlockephotography - stock.adobe.com

Image credit: © seanlockephotography - stock.adobe.com

Understanding health care necessitates an immediate and dedicated focus on diversity and cultural competence. Adopting diversity management is not just a choice but a pressing need in the evolving health care landscape. It is the first crucial step towards comprehending the need for evidence-based medicine to include diversity and cultural competency, surpassing age, gender, and race/ethnicity. This urgency is underscored by the projection that more than 50% of the US population will consist of minorities by 2050.1 This highlights the importance and potential impact of evidence-based medicine, including diversity and cultural competency, and should inspire and motivate us all to contribute to this aspect of healthcare.

Mastering the diversity and cultural landscape is not a destination but an ongoing journey that requires a deep understanding of cultural humility. This concept extends beyond self-awareness and involves exploring one's assumptions, values, and biases. A profound introspection into one's social environment and background, recognizing how this shapes our experiences and existence, is crucial for understanding cultural humility. Importantly, this ongoing journey continues while practicing medicine or engaging in clinical research.2 It should be approached from a multifactorial perspective, as work and personal experiences can vary significantly. This insight should be instilled within our educational systems from an early age and further developed during medical training and clinical research, emphasizing the need for continuous learning and growth.

While there is still much work to be done, it is encouraging to note that significant progress has been made in addressing diverse issues in healthcare. Many disadvantaged populations experience poorer health and more significant disparities in health outcomes due to being underserved and underrepresented in clinical trials.3 This issue has gained considerable traction in recent years, thanks to grassroots efforts and increased education on the importance of inclusion. Realizing that "health disparities adversely affect patients, and with increasing diversity within the United States, they affect an increasingly diverse group of individuals," initiating a change is crucial for our future.4 This progress should serve as a beacon of hope, inspiring us to redouble our efforts in this crucial area of healthcare.

Renata Block, MMS, PA-C, is a board-certified physician assistant at SKIN Dermatology in Munster, Indiana, the past president of the Society of Dermatology Physician Assistants (SDPA) and the Illinois SDPA, past chair of the DermPA Foundation, and a Dermatology Times Editorial Advisory Board member.


  1. Nair L, Adetayo OA. Cultural competence and ethnic diversity in healthcare. Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. 2019 May 16;7(5):e2219. doi: 10.1097/GOX.0000000000002219.
  2. Yeager KA, Bauer-Wu S. Cultural humility: essential foundation for clinical researchers. Appl Nurs Res. 2013 Nov;26(4):251-6. doi: 10.1016/j.apnr.2013.06.008. Epub 2013 Aug 12.
  3. Minority health and health disparities definitions. National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. Updated June 20, 2024. Accessed May 28, 2024. https://www.nimhd.nih.gov/resources/understanding-health-disparities/minority-health-and-health-disparities-definitions.html
  4. Rodriguez R, Pandya AG. Cultural competence and humility. Dermatol Clin. 2023 Apr;41(2):279-283. doi: 10.1016/j.det.2022.10.004. Epub 2023 Feb 1.
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