Cultural Competence and Healthcare. Experiences from Slovenia


  • Uršula Lipovec Čebron Department of Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
  • Ivanka Huber Department for Prevention and Promotion Programmes Management, National Institute of Public Health, Ljubljana, Slovenia


This paper seeks to contribute to critical reflection on the importance, dilemmas and problems that arise in educating health professionals about the socio-cultural dimensions of health and healthcare. In the first part of the paper the authors show that although educational programmes in the field of cultural competences have experienced a remarkable upswing, they are accompanied by many ambiguities and shortcomings. Based on numerous anthropological criticisms, the authors highlight the major conceptual and methodological problems that accompany many cultural competence efforts. The second part of the article focuses on an analysis of the multi-year process of introducing a training course in cultural competence in Slovenia, in which over 500 health professionals have been trained since 2016. Based on the results of the participants’ quantitative evaluation and educators’ selfevaluation, the authors critically analyse the contributions of this training course, while highlighting some of the key dilemmas and difficulties that have accompanied this process.




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