Cultural Competence



Cultural competence is the knowledge, interpersonal skills, and behaviors that enable a system, organization, program, or individual to work effectively cross-culturally by:

  • Understanding
  • Appreciating
  • Honoring
  • Respecting

Cultural differences and similarities within and between cultures. The acquisition of cultural competence is a dynamic, ongoing, developmental process that requires a long-term commitment and is achieved over time.


Participants will:

  1. Explore their personal biases and assumptions on individual and organizational behavior.
  2. Discuss how cultural, ethnic, and socioeconomic factors influence access to health care services.
  3. Learn the impact of culturally competent health care practices on individuals’ access to health services, participation in health promotion and prevention programs, adherence to treatment plans, and overall health outcomes.

Core Seminar

Self-Directed Learning Activities

  • Poverty activity (spent)
  • Conduct a personal self-assessment regarding cultural competence.

Community Activity

  • How is cultural competence relevant to a community activity?
  • How did your cultural competence aid you in your community activity?
  • How did gaps in your cultural competence impede your project?

Participation in Faculty Activities

  • How might you suggest faculty integrate cultural competency into programs, research, scholarship, and policies?
  • Interact with faculty from different cultures. What do you observe? What are the similarities or differences from your culture?
  • What are the norms, values, or characteristics of the culture from which you come?

Leadership Journal & Portfolio

  • What factors present barriers to you developing cultural competence?
  • What factors have helped you develop more cultural competence?
  • Observe the division—what do you notice, relative to cultural competence?

Clinical Preparation

  • Interact in a clinic setting with patients and families from diverse cultures and those whose first language is not English
  • What do you observe? What approaches do you find work most effectively?