What aspects of cultural competence are unique to higher education, researchers, and educators of future professionals?
Cultural competence is not a new concept to anyone working in the professions of audiology or speech-language pathology. Understanding cultural variables is not a luxury but a necessity in differentiating communication difference versus disorder and maximizing the benefits of any clinical intervention. As the professions continue to seek evidence for the assessment and treatment options they choose, so too researchers must ensure that studies are conducted with an appreciation for the diverse individuals that clinicians will encounter in their practice. Researchers must not only consider issues connected to subject selection but also understand the cultural variation among fellow researchers and collaborators (interdisciplinary collaborations). According to the ASHA Issues in Ethics Statement on Cultural Competence, "Ethical considerations mandate cultural competence in activities such as hiring practices, teaching, evaluations and supervisions of staff and students" (p. 2).
What resources are best suited for clinical and academic faculty? What are the implications of cultural competence for researchers?
ASHA has a number of resources to assist clinicians and researchers in achieving cultural competence:
CCC: Cultivate Your Cultural Competence
Read an article by ASHA's Multicultural Issues Board that reviews tips for developing your cultural competence.
Special Interest Group 14, Cultural and Linguistic Diversity
SIG 14 was established to study, apply, and advance knowledge of normal communication, communication disorders, and service delivery issues that affect African-, Asian-, Hispanic-Americans, American Indians, and other culturally and linguistically diverse populations.
This article first appeared in the April 2006 issue of Access Academics and Research.