There are at least two meanings of multiculturalism. Multiculturalism can be defined as a demographic condition in which diverse cultural groups coexist within local or national boundaries. Multiculturalism also describes a sociopolitical philosophy that promotes respect, understanding, and preservation of cultural differences. Both of these multiculturalisms have important consequences for the equitable provision of healthcare. As a demographic reality, multiculturalism demands public health policy that provides healthcare access to multiple and growing subpopulations. Multiculturalism as a sociopolitical ideal entails that such provision of healthcare be sensitive to different cultural practices and worldviews. As such, multiculturalism attunes health practitioners and policy makers to both the quantity and quality of healthcare for diverse populations.
Especially since the 1960s, when civil rights and independence movements and shifts in immigration policies helped to reconfigure...
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