Culture and Diversity: Understanding Disparities in Health Programs

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Culture and Diversity: Understanding Disparities in Health Programs This essay reviews key concepts of culture and diversity in the context of their role in causing and/or making worse disparities in health programs. Key Points on Health Program Planning For individuals to be healthy requires the combination of varying levels of physical, mental and social well-being throughout a person's lifetime. Most people find that maintaining their health requires a certain amount of effort and intention. Health programs can help with this effort, but their effectiveness depends on how well health professionals make sure that an individual's attention and information convert to actions and behaviors that succeed (Issel, 2009). The World Health Organization (WHO) published a definition of health that is widely accepted and useful for health planning purposes. This definition defines health as more than just the absence of illness, but says instead that health requires the presence of well-being (as cited in Issel, 2009, p. 4). Health professionals, in working with this definition, must still come to an understanding about the scope and nature of health programs. Culture and diversity affect this shared understanding. President Bill Clinton contributed to reaching a shared understanding by putting ethnic diversity, race, and racism on the public agenda in the late 1990s (Issel, 2009). Discussions of public policy and health program planning have to consider diversity and the way
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