The privilege of caring for patients from unfamiliar backgrounds often presents a dilemma for the treating physician and the health-care team. Each unique group of people values its beliefs and ideals, and these convictions often blend with native knowledge and practices to collectively reflect expectations of appropriate, culturally competent health care. These medical practices can echo religious, cultural, or environmental factors and may reflect a combination of all of these influences. The administration of appropriate care in the context of a culturally and religiously diverse society is dependent on a physician's knowledge of the basic principles of his or her patients’ practices and preferences. Misinterpretation, uninformed assumptions, or stereotypical behavior may lead to anger and misunderstanding and can create obstacles to the administration of ethical, informed, and professional health care.