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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Karin J Opacich, BSOT, MHPE, PhD (University of Illinois at Chicago School of Public Health)
Description: This book sends the message to health administrators and agencies that cultural considerations should be woven into the fabric of their endeavors.
Purpose: The author attempts to raise expectations for health administrators, especially those in public health, to assess and address cultural competence in their organizations. This is a daunting and worthy endeavor, but this book and most others of its kind seem to minimize the determinants of cultural bias and barriers to effectiveness. The book does succeed in providing suggestions, exercises, and resources for assessing the maturity of an organization in terms of cultural competence.
Audience: It appears that the book is written for a broad audience of existing and aspiring health professionals, while specifically targeting health service administrators. Indicated by her commitment to exploring cultural diversity and public health, the author offers credible and interesting perspectives.
Features: Health administrators who read this book will certainly get the message that both the culture of recipients of care and institutional culture are critical to success of the enterprise. The book includes some important advice, such as selecting a CEO and a board of directors who embody the cultural values and further the mission of a given program. It also includes methods, suggestions, and resources for assessing cultural competence. In this age of community participatory engagement, there may be more dramatic ways to illustrate the impact of cultural competency/incompetency in health organizations.
Assessment: This book may serve best as a prelude to more in-depth discussion and case study analysis of cultural competence/incompetence at the organization level.