Italy has one of the most inclusive policy in Europe for the protection of migrants’ health rights. However, the development of health services to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population, despite best practices, remains largely fragmented. To tackle health inequalities for migrants and ethnic minorities, cultural competence (CC) for professionals and organizations is emerging internationally as a synonym for best practices. Its definition is currently debated, being affected by the influence of the specific historical-geographical contexts in which it is used. The aim of the study is to explore in the Italian context: 1) the critical issues in the development of culturally competent services; 2) the perception of best practices in comparison with the European guidelines; 3) the use and understanding of the CC construct. 8 experts with different backgrounds and renowned for their professional expertise in the promotion of migrants health were interviewed. The analysis of the results allows to compare the national trends with the European ones and to deepen internal differences. The use of the term cultural competence does not appear widely diffused and is interpreted using different perspectives, with approaches suggesting to overcome the categorical vision of culture. Overall, the data recommend the importance of a research-based health service to hinder discriminative practices, foster equity and contextualize strategies to local needs.
Keywords: Cultural competence, health inequalities, migrants, best practices, equity, healthcare organizations