In recent years, people have been using this buzzword of “Cultural Competence” to define an understanding of various cultures, traditions and beliefs. However, a recent article suggests a new paradigm of thought that is a result of an intersection between cultural competence and cultural humility in a “synergistic relationship.”

Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on

“From this perspective, cultural competemility can be viewed as simultaneously being both a process of becoming and the process of being. Individuals must engage in the process of becoming culturally competent while synchronously being engaged in the process of cultural humility”

—Josepha Camphina-Bacote

In the paper, the author further notes, ” It is my assertion that the coined term ‘cultural competemility’ has the potential to contribute to positively impacting the delivery of culturally conscious healthcare services and experiences to all patients, families, and the community.” When I stumbled upon this article, I was happy to see a term that perfectly encompassed my own thoughts on being a truly open-minded individual. I think that we shouldn’t settle for competence when we should also be humble and open-minded.

There are a few main components to this term of cultural competimility

  • Cultural Awareness
  • Cultural Knowledge
  • Cultural Skill
  • Cultural Encounter
  • Cultural Desire

Cultural Awareness

This portion encompasses the following:

involves the process of conducting a self-examination and critical reflection of one’s own biases towards other cultures and also an in-depth exploration of one’s cultural background (Campinha-Bacote, 2011)

Cultural Knowledge

This portion encompasses the following:

Additionally, cultural knowledge includes the integration of three areas: a) health-related beliefs, practices, and cultural values of culturally and ethnically diverse populations; b) disease incidence and prevalence among culturally and ethnically diverse populations; and c) treatment efficacy among culturally and ethnically diverse populations (Lavizzo-Mourey, 1996).

Cultural Skill

This portion encompasses the following:

is the ability to conduct a cultural assessment to collect relevant cultural data regarding the patients whom one serves (Campinha-Bacote, 2011)

Cultural Encounter

This portion encompasses the following:

encourage the HCP to directly engage in face-to-face interactions and other types of encounters with patients from culturally diverse backgrounds to modify existing beliefs about a cultural group and prevent possible stereotyping (Campinha-Bacote, 2011). 

Cultural Desire

This portion encompasses the following:

to ‘want to’ (as opposted to ‘have to’) engage in the process both of becoming culturally aware, culturally knowledgeable, culturally skillful, and also seeking cultural encounters (Campinha-Bacote, 2011)

Overall, it is important that we not just leave our knowledge to competence but also incorporate humility and empathy in our understanding of other cultures and ideas. Similarly, we should not simply aim for tolerance, but rather acceptance and co-existence.