In Reply We appreciate Jindal’s comments on the importance of cultural competency in the delivery of humanitarian surgical care. Cultural competency has gained increasing recognition not only as an essential component of effective global health engagement but also as a key to improving health care disparities domestically.1,2 Considering the number of factors that can increase the cultural distance between the deployed military surgeon and local populations and the volume of contact we demonstrated,3 focused training seems a reasonable prerequisite to deployment, although how best to integrate such training amidst mission-essential requirements will remain a challenge. For an organization that has already prioritized cultural competency in special operations forces training,4 this is certainly an achievable task if it is valued appropriately.
Learn PA, Elster EA. Cultural Sensitivity in Deployed US Medical Personnel—Reply. JAMA Surg. Published online February 21, 2018. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2017.6201
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