I've taken a handful of medical anthropology courses in my academic travels and I've found the notion of "cultural competency" to be a particularly polarizing one. Of course everyone knows The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down as the almost fetishistic yet definitive work on the "presumed need for cultural competency," but I'm wondering what part that plays in each of your practices. I recently read this chapter in a Global Health book that addresses how just the process of teaching cultural competence is problematic and rife with discontent, as the Willen puts it. She describes an "inflammatory truth" combined with a "big gaping wound" in the American biomedical tradition that has the potential to invite productive discussion, but is often derailed before it even gets the chance. Is this something that affects how you interact with your patients and colleagues?
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