Culturally Competent Health Promotion as a Social Inclusion Mechanism: A Study of Ontario Community-Based AIDS Service Organizations
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Ontario is a culturally diversified society. Its population composition has changed drastically in the past few decades to include large numbers of individuals with cultural norms differing from that of the majority. This poses challenges to public health, such as HIV prevention. Identifying practices that promote social inclusion in these communities is an important step toward the maintenance of cultural diversity and elimination of social exclusion. Culturally competent health promotion is one example of socially inclusive practices. Cultural competence refers to practices that take into consideration the cultural and linguistic nuances of a specific community or group. This thesis will be guided by the research questions: (1) What are the main health promotion practices of Community-based AIDS Service Organizations (CBAOs)? (2) How do the activities of these organizations promote social inclusion? This thesis uses qualitative methodology to study the CBAO as the unit of analysis. Data were collected from operators at three ethno-cultural CBAOs in Ontario: South Asian; Black, African, and Caribbean; and Portuguese. CBAOs are organizations within the community that provide HIV prevention resources, as well as support for persons living with HIV/AIDS in the community. The practices demonstrated at CBAOS in these communities illustrate three related mechanisms present that promote social inclusion: (a) community networking, (b) community knowledge and involvement, and (c) community-specific resources. These mechanisms can be used to inform practices at other community-based organizations in Ontario.