Health Disparities

HD: Cross-Cultural Communication (2010)



Effective cross cultural communication involves an understanding and respect for the overall cultural characteristics of an individual’s language, literacy, disabilities, and the communication process which includes the rules and modes of communication of the opposite culture. It takes into account elements of both verbal and nonverbal interactions as well as the cultural context of the individual. Context refers to the conditions that surround the communication process that gives it fuller meaning.

High context cultures attempt to be comprehensive as possible, by focusing on as many of the conditions surrounding a situation, event, or conversation in order to gain an understanding.
Low context cultures place a low emphasis on the conditions surrounding a situation, event, or conversation by screening out as much of those conditions as possible,  and only focusing on words or objective facts.

1. Goode, T. D., Jones, W., Dunne, C. & Bronheim, S. (2007). And the journey continues...Achieving cultural and linguistic competence in systems serving children and youth with special health care needs and their families. Washington, DC: National Center for Cultural Competence, Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development.

2. Cultural Food Practices. Diabetes Care and Education Dietetic Practice Group. Goody, C. and Drago, L, Ed. American Dietetic Association, 2010.

3. Campinha-Bacote, J. The Process of Cultural Competence in Health Care: A Culturally Competent Model of Care (2nd Edition). Wyoming, Ohio: Transcultural C.A.R.E. Associates, Perfect Printing Press, 1994.

4. Benavides, G. Cross-Cultural Communications Program. Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services, 1998.