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Cultural Competence in Public Health

About Cultural Competence

What is Cultural Competence?

  • "A set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system, agency, or among professionals that enables effective work in cross-cultural situations." (Health Resources and Services Administration & Office of Minority Health)
  • "...the adaptation of care in a manner that is consistent with the culture of the client and is therefore a conscious process and nonlinear." (Purnell, 2002)
  • "...the ability to interact effectively with people from different cultures, helps to ensure the needs of all community members are addressed." (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2015)
  • "...is a multidimensional learning process that integrates transcultural skills in all three dimensions (cognitive, practical, and affective), involves transcultural self-efficacy (confidence) as a major influencing factor, and aims to achieve culturally congruent care." (Jeffreys, 2014, p. 51-52)

Related Definitions

Cultural Humility: "...a process of openness, self-awareness, being egoless, and incorporating self-reflection and critique after willingly interacting with diverse individuals. The results of achieving cultural humility are mutual empowerment, respect, partnerships, optimal care, and lifelong learning." (Foronda et al., 2016, p. 213)

Culturally Congruent Care: "...health care that is customized to fit with the client's cultural values, beliefs, traditions, practices and lifestyle. Clients may include individuals, families, groups, institutions, and organizations." (Jeffreys, 2014, p. 51)

Health Disparity: ..."a particular type of health difference that is closely linked with social, economic, and/or environmental disadvantage. Health disparities adversely affect groups of people who have systematically experienced greater obstacles to health based on their racial or ethnic group; religion; socioeconomic status; gender; age; mental health; cognitive, sensory, or physical disability; sexual orientation or gender identity; geographic location; or other characteristics historically linked to discrimination or exclusion." (Healthy People 2020)

Health Literacy: "The degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and services needed to make appropriate health decisions." (Health Resources and Services Administration)