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Psychiatr Serv. 2007 Oct;58(10):1362-5.

Cultural competence reexamined: critique and directions for the future.

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  • 1Department of Social Medicine, Harvard Medical School, 641 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02115, USA.


This Open Forum aims to stimulate productive dialogue about cultural competence in providing mental health care. The authors examine recent calls for culturally competent care in mental health practice and give a brief overview of the context in which demands for such care have arisen. Using select examples from anthropology, the authors provide evidence of the importance of culture in the production, presentation, and experience of psychic distress. Acknowledging the value of culturally appropriate care, the authors synthesize anthropological critiques of cultural competence models. The essay concludes with suggestions for future directions in cultural competence research and implementation.

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