Providing Culturally Competent Medical Care ‘Central’ to Patient Health, Letter to the Editor Says
Multiple studies show that "[p]roviding language access and culturally proficient care is not just a good idea -- it is central to patients' health," Eric Ramos -- medical director of Del Puerto Health Center, chief medical officer of Doctors Medical Center and past president of the Stanislaus Medical Society -- writes in a Modesto Bee letter to the editor in response to coverage of a recent University of California-San Francisco study that found that minority physicians are underrepresented in California.
According to Ramos, "Hiring trained interpreters is one approach to language access," but the "ideal is to train a diverse health care work force that reflects today's society with physicians who speak the needed languages and are culturally at home among the populations they serve." Members of the Medical Leadership Council on Language Access and Cultural Proficiency, including the Stanislaus Medical Society, "help improve these issues and build a more diverse health care work force," Ramos writes.
He continues, "Every physician must strive to provide care that respects and is understood by patients from every culture and background," concluding that the "entire community must support minority youth through the education system so that they qualify for medical school and mentor young doctors from diverse backgrounds to help eliminate the staggering race-based health care disparities in our state and nation" (Ramos, Modesto Bee, 4/12).