International Collaboration on Cultural Relevance in Global Health: A Call to ActioN (I_CAN)

Founder: Shanaya Rathod
Co Founder: Rachel Tribe

The past several decades have seen a rapid social and cultural change in the ever- evolving socio-political and media world, as well as migration within and between nations. Societies are becoming multi-ethnic and poly-cultural in nature worldwide. It is now acknowledged that culture influences expression of psychological distress as well as help-seeking behaviours of people who need health services.

The concept of culture, and its influence upon individuals, is itself dynamic, and as individuals and societies change, so do the relevant aspects of their culture. Therefore, it would be fair to say that each individual has a unique culture that is part of a broader culture and is constantly changing as a result of various influences depending on tensions between the individual and their culture at relational interfaces.

The last two decades have seen a trend towards cultural adaptation of interventions for different cultural people in the HMIC and the LMIC (The World Bank has used income categories to classify countries into high, middle, and low, with the middle income category further subdivided into lower middle or upper middle income. We use the terms high and middle income (to include the upper middle income) countries (HMIC) and low and middle income (to include lower middle income countries) countries (LMIC).

Most nations and cultures are on a journey of understanding health (including mental health) and the development of services and treatments for illnesses with a cultural aspect in mind. A key aspect of delivering personalised care is the development and delivery of culturally adapted interventions that benefit cultural minority groups in developed countries and the majority and minority groups in developing countries.

Research also confirms that culturally adapted interventions are effective. However, the current criteria for judging good research designs may or may not be feasible for research on different cultural groups, and additionally, there are no paradigms for developing measures or interpreting existing measures to incorporate ethnicity and racialized experiences. Therefore, the generalisation of findings of the effectiveness of therapeutic interventions to many cultural groups may not be valid or even appropriate.This requires a development of fresh and novel research invervetnions to assess and implement culturally adapted health and social interventions.

The journey of acknowledging the need for culturally relevant services has begun but we are a long way from delivering the personalised care that people deserve. Systems of care across the globe need to adapt and adjust delivery of care in order to accommodate the impact of globalisation and therefore be able to deliver person- centred care.

We aim to establish a platform for world experts to collaborate and create networks to create good quality research programmes to achieve evidence based and culturally adapted interventions that are culturally relevant and provide personalised care which can be owned by embedded care givers and receivers.

This will influence practice, policy and training.

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