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Indian Health Service The Federal Health Program for American Indians and Alaska Natives

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Welcome to Healthcare Communications!

IHS divisions, in accordance with their individual missions, will develop, implement, and evaluate programs and provide resources to improve health communications.

IHS agency responsibilities include ensuring that health professionals can obtain and provide the public with accurate and appropriate health information. Healthcare Communications is one of the focus areas identified in Healthy People 2020 Exit Disclaimer: You Are Leaving (HP 2020). The goals of HP 2020 are to increase quality and years of healthy life and to eliminate health disparities among different segments of the population. Health communication is a focus area of HP 2020. The mission of the Indian Health Service is to raise the physical, mental, social, and spiritual health of American Indians and Alaska Natives to the highest level.

Culture and Linguistic Competency

Culture affects how people communicate, understand, and respond to health information. Cultural and linguistic competency of health professionals contributes to health literacy. Cultural competence is the ability of health organizations and practitioners to recognize the cultural beliefs, values, attitudes, traditions, language preferences, and health practices of American Indian/Alaska Natives and to apply that knowledge to produce positive health outcomes. Competency includes communicating in a manner that is linguistically and culturally appropriate. Healthcare professionals have their own culture and language. Many adopt the "culture of medicine" and the language of their specialty as a result of their training and work environment. This can affect how health professionals communicate with the public.
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