n and medical trainees, to prevent unconscious stereotypes and cultural/racial attitudes from influencing the outcomes and course of clinical encounters. Such skills and strategies are designed to I. enhance internal motivation with an aim of reducing bias, while at the same time avoiding external pressure; II. Increase the understanding on the basis of psychological bias and III. Enhance the confidence of the providers in their ability to interact successfully with socially dissimilar patients. There is need for measures and programs that will offer an environment that is not threatening to practice new desirable skills and the need to avoid health providers ashamed of ethnic, cultural, or racial stereotypes.
Studies on social cognitive psychology show that with sufficient cognitive resources, effort, and motivation, people are able to focus on the individuals’ unique qualities, and not on the groups they are from, in behaving and forming impression towards others. Even stereotypes and prejudice that are automatically activated can be inhibited when individuals are perceived more in relation to their particular qualities rather than as social categories members. Interventions to check on biases in health providers’ behavior, decision making, and judgment should therefore promote individuation cognitive strategy, where the health provider focuses on the personal attributes of a particular patient, and not on categorization (Baum 26).
There is a direct relationship between health practices and culture. Different studies have shown that of the many factors that determine health behaviors and beliefs, culture is among the most influential. In an effort to meet the culturally diverse groups needs, health care providers have to be cultural competent. Dienemann (2007) defined cultural competence in his study as a set of congruent attitudes, policies, and behaviors that come together in an agency, a system, or amongst professionals and enable an agency, system or