The struggle for equality in healthcare continues

J Healthc Manag. 2001 Sep-Oct;46(5):313-24; discussion 324-6.


All healthcare providers, both institutional and individual, must make every effort to ensure that every person who seeks their medical care is offered competent, sincere, and equal treatment options. Unfortunately, this ideal scenario does not take into account the lack of diversity among care providers and the lack of culturally competent policies within healthcare delivery settings. As a result, many care providers continue to follow racially biased treatment practices and many organizations continue to ignore their public trust of providing fair treatment to everyone, regardless of skin color, gender, economic capabilities, etc. Although developing and implementing a diversity plan and culturally competent policies is very complex practically, politically, and programmatically for traditional institutional care providers, it must be done. The key ingredient to this effort is the absolute commitment and support of the organization's governing bodies and executive management. Institutions can certainly volunteer and begin to develop such programs that foster recruitment, selection, and retention of culturally competent care providers to ensure that equal healthcare is received by their patient populations. However, many institutions are already besieged by too many healthcare challenges to volunteer for such an effort. The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and the National Council of Quality Assurance can certainly help jumpstart this effort by establishing an accreditation standard that requires all healthcare providers to establish and practice culturally competent care within their organizations. Providers must also embrace the diversity that is a part of our society and must not let race or ethnicity be a determining factor in offering treatment options.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Cultural Diversity*
  • Health Services Accessibility / organization & administration*
  • Health Services Accessibility / standards
  • Humans
  • Inservice Training
  • Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations
  • Organizational Culture
  • Organizational Policy
  • Prejudice
  • Professional Competence
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Social Justice*
  • United States