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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Meme Wang, MPH (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Description: What does it mean for a health educator/health promoter to be culturally competent? This book answers the question through its coverage of a broad range of topics that examine how cultural factors such as race/ethnicity, spirituality, sexual orientation, aging, and complementary and alternative medicine affect health, as well as through its discussion of theories, models, and applied practices for developing and delivering health education/health promotion programs to different populations.
Purpose: The purpose of this book, to prepare those entering into and practicing health education and health promotion to become culturally competent, is timely, relevant, and critical given the current demographic changes in the United States. It is a worthwhile pursuit and, overall, the book meets its goal.
Audience: It is written for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as practitioners in the fields of public health, allied health sciences, nursing, preventive medicine, and in particular, health education and health promotion.
Features: A major strength of the book is the relevance and timeliness of the topic it addresses. Additionally, the broad range of issues that it covers provides an overview of the various challenges that health educators/health promoters face today. Another strength is the inclusion of case studies at the end of each chapter that can be used as starting points for classroom discussions. As with any edited volume, the chapters vary in length, format, and depth. In a few of the chapters, the objectives as stated at the outset either are not addressed or are inadequately addressed. Another limitation is the lack of graphics that should have been used to display complex theoretical models. The type is also dense, making it difficult to skim the chapters. Lastly, the book ignores how cultural factors that affect health and illness can be applied to theoretical models and research.
Assessment: "The quality of the book varies from chapter to chapter. While illuminating the disparities in health by race/ethnicity in the second chapter can serve as a useful guide for practitioners in this field, the authors fail to note that certain cultural practices within each racial/ethnic group can serve as protective factors for health. Furthermore, the book lacks any mention that race/ethnicity often mistakenly serves as proxies for culture. Overall, however, this is an important and useful book. The majority of the books that address cultural competency in healthcare target those in medicine, and in particular, focus on the patient/provider relationship. Other books that cover this issue specifically target certain fields such as social work or mental health. This book fulfills a dire need for this topic to be tackled in health education and health promotion. "