Diversity is essential to the vision, mission and strategic directions of the health system at large. This involves diversity in who is represented at all levels of the health workforce and the development of cultural competence (the attitudes, knowledge, skills, behaviors and policies) required to better meet the needs of all the people we serve.
Cultural competence can work to reduce disparities in health status and health services. It can support the increased detection of population-specific diseases and conditions. It can also address inequitable access to primary health care and respond to Nova Scotia's existing and changing demographics. The diversity of Nova Scotians includes such factors as race, ethnicity, language, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, (dis)ability, spirituality, age, geography, literacy, education and income. A culturally competent primary healthcare system will provide care to patients and clients with diverse values, beliefs and behaviors, and include tailoring care to meet their needs. This requires increasing understanding of individuals and communities and devising strategies to identify and address barriers to accessing quality primary health care.
Complimentary to the work of diversity, social inclusion and cultural competence in primary health care, the Diversity and Social Inclusion Health Policy Advisor works within the Department of Health and Wellness and in collaboration with external health partners to build systemic cultural competence and build on the Cultural Competence Guidelines for the Delivery of Primary Health Care. This includes expanding the application of the Guidelines to all aspects of the health system.
Resources and tools that support diversity, social inclusion and cultural competence include:
Offices of NS Government
Provincial Program Clinical Guidelines
The Provincial Programs Guideline Committee undertook a project initiated by the Diabetes Care Program of Nova Scotia and supported by the Special Advisor to the Associate Deputy Minister on Diversity and Social Inclusion to develop a tool to ensure guidelines developed by provincial programs reflect cultural competency. The Cultural Competence Assessment Tool for Clinical Guidelines Development will be used in future guideline development/revision. Also included is a reporting form where observations and recommendations can be made explicit and shared among Provincial Program team members.
For background on the Provincial Programs Guideline Committee go to Health Guidelines website.
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Page last updated 2011-10-14.