Skepticism of healthcare is widespread throughout some of these communities — rightly so due to historical mistreatment, discrimination and lack of representation along with cultural differences. This distrust may be further strengthened by a patient’s own personal experiences. I respected this wariness, but I had yet to witness it firsthand.
Developing skills of cultural competence requires an open heart and mind — and often an uncomfortable examination of personal biases. It takes time, but along the way physicians gain greater humility and compassion, which translates to expanded access and higher-quality care for patients.
“Where are you from?” A question that I am asked many times during the course of my day. But the answer has never been clear nor concise.