Peer Education: Promoting Cultural Competence, Health Behaviors, and Professional Practice in An Undergraduate Health Promotion Course

Document Type

Article - Merrimack Access Only

Publication Title

Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance

Publication Date


Abstract/ Summary

The population in North America has become more diverse. Almost seven out of 10 Canadian residents identify as an ethnicity other than Canadian. In the US it is estimated that by 2043, nonwhite racial and ethnic populations will compose more than 50 percent of all Americans. This increased diversity demands that health professionals provide culturally competent services for individuals with different sociocultural backgrounds, as the existing racial and ethnic disparities in access and utilization demonstrate that the health promotion system is struggling to serve such diverse groups of people. Cultural competence (CC) refers to the ability to understand and integrate differences, to incorporate them into daily care, and to work effectively in cross-cultural situations. Currently, the health promotion area lacks discipline-specific guidelines that address CC. A peer education program can address this need by taking advantage of the increasingly culturally diverse populations on many campuses, integrating the health promotion knowledge and skills into real-life practice, and facilitating communication between international and domestic students.