From a systems theory perspective, an organization that is internally diverse will be better able to respond to externally diverse needs and demands. This concept has been formalized into the concept of requisite variety. The concept of requisite variety suggests that a health program’s target audience contributes to a reduced understanding of the target audience, a greater need to become informed about the target audience, and—potentially—tensions between the planners and advocates for or from the target audience. The more comprehensive the health program and the greater the cultural diversity of the target population, the greater the need to have parallel diversity among those planning, providing, and receiving the program.
The Three Health Provider Sectors From an anthropological perspective, the effects of health provider diversity (or lack thereof) can be understood by considering the three sectors of the health–illness system from which individuals seek help when experiencing illness. Each sector has direct implications for planning, implementing, and evaluating health programs.