First Advisor

Edward Kahl

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Science and University Honors




Transcultural medical care -- United States, Communication in medicine, Cultural competence, Medical care -- Cross-cultural studies, Cultural awareness




A growing issue in healthcare in the United States is whether consideration and attentiveness of physicians and other healthcare providers towards a patient’s culture has an effect on the treatment process. An anthropological term, cultural competency, describes a medical professional’s respect and integration of the patients’ cultural beliefs and practices throughout the treatment process in order to reduce cross-cultural health disparities and to improve overall satisfaction. Although there is significant literature outlining a theoretical need for increased implementation of these practices, little work has been done to address actual quantitative evidence supporting or refuting the articulated need. The goal of this project is to collect and synthesize some previous quantitative findings with my own data analysis from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services records, and integrate those findings with some of the prominent qualitative work that has framed the discourse in order to establish or refute a need for more culturally competent practices in U.S. healthcare. After analyzing economic aspects and implications, changing demographic information, and trends in treatment services; I argue there is an increasing need to implement culturally competent evaluation and practices. However, as the data suggests, further work must be done to identify specific areas of impact and the role differing cultural dynamics play so that treatment services can be modified accordingly.


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