Culturally Proficient, Health Care

Family physicians encounter patients whose cultural/ethnic backgrounds may be different from his or her own. Such differences may impact the patient/physician relationship.

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) urges its members, and all those involved in the training of students, residents and other physicians, to be cognizant of cultural differences and how addressing those differences can improve the quality of care. The Academy urges all medical schools and family medicine residencies to educate students and residents about cultural and ethnic differences.

The AAFP recommends that all physicians learn about and respect the cultural/ethnic background of their patients. Sensitivity to cultural and individual perceptions of health, family and illness should be incorporated into a patient's care and the development of treatment plans as appropriate. When treating patients whose language differs from that of the physician, the physician must follow federal mandates to provide appropriate interpretive services. (1985) (2013 COD)