We All Deserve Culturally Competent Care

Being understood by our healthcare providers means better and more effective treatment for our physical and mental health.

Going to the doctor can sometimes feel like walking a tightrope, holding our needs as patients in one hand and our needs as people in the other. Sometimes, we can find ourselves prioritizing our needs as patients in order to get care. 

This can happen in many different ways. Not sharing our pronouns or chosen names with a provider for fear of being purposefully misgendered, or dealing with microaggressions about our culture and our country of origin, or not speaking up about our symptoms because of previous struggles to get providers to believe our experiences are just a few examples.

Violet was created by a team of queer folx who’ve had firsthand experience struggling to get care from a culturally competent provider 

We know what it’s like to not be able to bring our whole selves into the exam room. Not only did it impact our ability to trust our providers, it also kept us from getting the care we needed. We all deserve to be open about who we are when we’re working on our physical and mental health. We’ve taken our own experiences, as well as the experiences of hundreds of other community members we interviewed, to create a framework for cultural competence. 

Overwhelmingly, we heard that cultural competence meant:

1. Providers seeing, understanding, and celebrating us individuals.

2. Providers knowing the specific healthcare needs of our communities and identities.

3. Providers being members of the communities they serve.

How do we define Cultural Competence?

Cultural competence starts with seeing patients as whole people. Each person has many different identities that affect both their day-to-day experiences as well as their physical and mental health. A culturally competent provider is knowledgeable of the communities they treat, understanding their specific healthcare needs as well as the best practices for care. 

Cultural competence is not only accepting, but celebrating a patient’s experiences and identities and helping them to thrive. And for providers, it means having humility, knowing that feedback is crucial, and there will always be more to learn.

Why Does Culturally Competent Care Matter?

Culturally competent care helps people feel more comfortable, both as patients and as individuals. And it also helps us receive better treatment. 

Getting quality, culturally competent care is still difficult for many communities and has led to health inequalities in our country. Even though America spends an average of $11,000 a year per person for healthcare, we see some of the worst outcomes among developed countries. These outcomes are often worse for the BIPOC and queer communities.

How Violet is Building Culturally Competent Healthcare

We’re taking what we’ve learned from our work in the queer mental health space and tackling the goal of assessing cultural competence across the healthcare system. 

Using the framework we created, we’ve brought together a group of amazing providers to treat our community. Each provider is carefully evaluated based on what they’ve studied, where they’ve worked, what communities they belong to, their hands-on experience, and more. This means more folx can get the culturally competent care they deserve from providers who are knowledgeable and enthusiastic about their health.