About Healthy Diversity

In an increasingly interconnected world, where travel and the exchange of information happens more easily than ever, each one of us is more likely to meet and interact with people or communities with different values, behaviours, norms, habits, rituals and concepts of the world.

Healthcare provision is not immune to such situations as different professionals provide services to a wide range of patients having different needs and backgrounds.

When not addressed properly by trained professionals, such situations can result in a less-than-ideal professional performance, building a barrier to healthcare provision that may encompass misunderstandings, failure of diagnosis, the refusal of treatment, under-treatment or even maltreatment and discrimination.

Three training needs have been identified:

Developing intercultural competencies



Reducing barriers to healthcare treatment


Methods of meeting the needs of diverse patient groups


The primary objective of the Healthy Diversity project is to improve the capacity of health professionals and institutions in meeting the needs of a culturally diverse patient group, thereby reducing the barriers to accessing services and alleviating different forms of discrimination within the health sector.

Target Groups

The Healthy Diversity training tools and resources address the following target groups:

Health professionals working with diverse patient groups


Managers of health service providers and decision-makers


Institutions providing continuous / initial education for health professionals


In addition to that, from a symmetrical perspective, social workers dealing with migrants and migrants themselves could also enrich their understanding about migration from a public health perspective.

Critical Incidents Methodology for Healthy Diversity

Does culture really have an impact on the daily work of health professionals?

The approaches dealing with diversity have been struggling from the very beginning between emphasising the impact of cultural differences (therefore risking to reinforce differences) or to the contrary deconstructing culture, focusing on the various personal, situational, and economic factors underlying people’s behaviour (risking to deny the relevance of culture).

Suspending the theoretical debate and moving to the level of practice, the method of Critical Incidents developed by the French social psychologist Margalit Cohen-Emerique offers a passage between these two risks.  It proposes an ingenious strategy to uncover the set of cultural norms, values, behaviours that people bring into an encounter with others, and which filter the way they interpret and respond to others. Through lifting the often negative emotional haze surrounding intercultural misunderstanding, the Critical Incidents Methodology helps to become more aware of the illusion of our own cultural neutrality and invites us to explore the cultural reference frames in a more objective way, opening up a margin for negotiation where prejudice has a lesser role to play.