Cultural Humility versus Cultural Competence: A Critical Distinction in Defining Physician Outcomes in Multicultural Education

Journal of Healthcare for the Poor and Underserved
Tervalon, Melanie
Murray-Garcia, Jann
Published Date: 

This journal article explores the differences between traditional cultural competence models and cultural humility. The authors argue that the traditional notion of competence in clinical training as a detached mastery of a theoretically finite body of knowledge may not be appropriate for this area of physician education. Cultural humility is proposed as a more suitable goal in multicultural medical education. Cultural humility incorporates a lifelong commitment to self-evaluation and self-critique, to redressing the power imbalances in the patient-physician dynamic, and to developing mutually beneficial and nonpaternalistic clinical and advocacy partnerships with communities on behalf of individuals and defined populations.


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