There are multiple factors that influence the quality of health and the health care experience of Aboriginal patients. Some of these factors include health professionals’ clinical decision-making and miscommunication between doctor and patient. A more “culturally competent” health workforce is a recommended strategy in addressing the extensively documented health disparities between Australia’s Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples. Culture, its importance in, and connection to health, is being increasingly explored in medical curricula with the expectation of improved health outcomes. This literature review on cultural competency in medical curricula reveals an emerging awareness of the paucity of data showing evidence of positive health outcomes for Aboriginal patients of “culturally competent” medical professionals. This highlights the need for there to be evidence of more than just practitioner satisfaction but also of meaningful shifts in health outcomes for Aboriginal patients of a more culturally knowledgeable medical profession.
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