Cultural health brokers

A growing body of evidence shows that recent immigrants and newcomers to Canada face barriers to accessing health care. These barriers -- including lack of language and cultural alignment, low levels of literacy, and difficulties navigating the system -- create delays in seeking care and, impact compliance with treatment, and reduce the use of preventative services. Many health care providers do not offer culturally competent care and some refuse to accept patients with language barriers.
Cultural health brokers (CHB) can plan a central role in our health care system and help address barriers to culturally appropriate care. CHB’s are members of the same ethnocultural communities that clients come from and therefore are uniquely positioned to build relationships that facilitate care. There is need for a dramatic increase in funding for CHB’s across the province and for the recognition of CHB’s as members of the health care team.