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Providing Culturally Congruent Care

An essential part of a victim-centered SART response involves providing competent, culturally congruent care. Culture does not simply refer to ethnicity or race, but rather to integrated patterns of human behavior. Behavior patterns can include thought, communication, language, beliefs, values, practices, customs, courtesies, rituals, roles, and relationships.2

The U.S. population is growing and changing dramatically, with shifts in its cultural diversity that require new approaches in service delivery. Current statistics reflect that3

  • 18.7 percent of the total U.S. population speaks a language other than English at home. More than 50 percent of those populations speak Spanish.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, senior citizens make up the fastest growing segment of the workforce. By 2012, workers age 55 and older will make up 19 percent of the labor force, compared with 14 percent in 2002.
  • The 2000 U.S. Census reported more than 600,000 gay and lesbian families living in the United States. The Census also reports that more than 15 percent of gay and lesbian families live outside major metropolitan areas.
  • People older than age 5 with physical and mental challenges constitute the single largest minority population (more than 49 million individuals).
  • By 2050, the white, non-Hispanic population will comprise only 50 percent of the population. Hispanics/Latinos will make up 25 percent of the U.S. population, followed by African Americans at 14.5 percent, Asian Americans at 8 percent, and all other races at 5 percent.

To provide successful culturally specific care, you must consider how to meet this population's diverse needs and how to reach out to a diverse community.