Cultural Competency Resources

CHAMPS has developed this compilation of online resources to support Region VIII CHCs in providing quality health care that addresses the needs of culturally and linguistically diverse patients and communities. If you utilize any beneficial resources that are not included on this page, please feel free to share those by contacting the CHAMPS Programs Coordinator, Population Health.

Please click or scroll down for:
Definitions of Cultural Competency
Why Focusing on Cultural Competency is Important
What it means to be Culturally Competent in a Healthcare Setting
Cultural Competency Resources for Healthcare Professionals
Linguistic Services Resources
Resources Specific to COVID-19
CHAMPS Population-Specific Resources


There are many definitions of cultural competency. Those below are intended to provide a basic introduction to the key concepts covered on this page.

Cultural competency is a set of congruent behaviors, knowledge, attitudes, and policies that enable work in cross-cultural situations.

Another way to think about cultural competency is as the ability of healthcare organizations and practitioners to recognize the cultural beliefs, values, attitudes, traditions, language preferences, and health practices of diverse patients, and then to apply that knowledge to produce positive health outcomes.

Culture refers to integrated patterns of human behavior that include language, thoughts, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and traditions of racial, ethnic, religious, or social groups.

Simply stated, culture shapes the way people view and interact with the world. A culture includes particular sets of beliefs, norms, and values concerning relationships, the way people live their lives, and the way people organize their environments. Everyone belongs to multiple cultural groups because there are so many interconnected factors that define who we are, such as our nationality, race, religion, language, socioeconomic status, profession, and so on.

Competence is the capacity of an individual or an organization to provide effective services that are responsive to the cultural beliefs, behaviors, and needs of diverse patients and communities.

Cultural competency is an engaging, life-long journey of expanding our knowledge, skills, and self-awareness. Cultural competence requires healthcare professionals to continuously work to improve their understanding of both their own beliefs and those of the patients they serve. It also requires us to continuously assess and improve healthcare systems to ensure that they meet the cultural and linguistic needs of our served communities. For this reason, some people prefer to use the term cultural humility, which encapsulates the idea that being aware of and attentive to diverse needs and experiences is a continuous process, not a one-time goal.


In healthcare, cultural competency:

  • Increases quality of healthcare services
  • Improves patient outcomes
  • Improves patient safety
  • Improves patient satisfaction
  • Builds trust with patients and communities
  • Reduces health disparities and promotes health equity


Please refer to the following resource to review standards for providing cultural and language-appropriate healthcare services released by the Department of Health and Human Services in April 2013:

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)
National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health and Health Care


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Reaching At-Risk Populations in an Emergency

The Center for Health Design
Designing Safety-Net Clinics for Cultural Sensitivity

The Center for Social Inclusion (CSI)
Talking About Race Toolkit

Health Equity Resources
Social Determinants of Health Resources

The Cross-Cultural Health Care Program
Cultural Competency Training of Trainers Institute

The Fenway Institute
National Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender (LGBT) Health Education Center

The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
Compendium of Cultural Competence Initiatives in Health Care

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) provides extensive resources for healthcare professionals on cultural competency, health literacy, and limited English proficiency. Following are two links for free online training and a library of cultural competency resources.

Management Sciences for Health
The Provider’s Guide to Quality and Culture

National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC)
Ground Work: Racial Justice and Cultural Humility Training for Health Centers

National Institute for Children’s Health Quality (NICHQ)
Implicit Bias Resource Guide

National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Clear Communication: A NIH Health Literacy Initiative

Office of Minority Health, HHS
Cultural Competency Guides and Resources
Improving Cultural Competency for Behavioral Health Professionals
Think Cultural Health (TCH)
Why Use Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Throughout a Disaster?

SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions
Serving Veterans: A Resource Guide

TRAIN Learning Network
Effective Communication for Healthcare Teams

University of Pittsburgh – School of Law
Disability Cultural Competence in the Medical Profession


The following resources address implementing language and translation services and improving patient education and communication:

Compilation of resources for health center staff and patients on health literacy and plain language
Health Literacy Resources

Online patient education tools addressing a variety of cultures, ethnicities, and languages
Multi-Lingual Materials

Colorado Department of Health & Environment (CDPHE), Office of Health Equity
Considerations that should be used with vital public communication materials to ensure all communities are effectively reached, including those with access and functional needs that may differ from traditional formats
Accessible Communications Checklist

Cross Cultural Health Care Program
Cultural competency trainings, interpreter trainings, and research projects
About Cultural Competency

Cultural profiles, health profiles, and patient education materials pertinent to immigrants to the U.S.
Culture Specific Pages

Healthy Roads Media
Provides patient handouts and patient education in various media formats by disease/condition in many various languages
Healthy Roads Full Media Listing by Topic, All Formats, All Languages

HHS, Office of Minority Health
A guide to help healthcare organizations implement effective language access services (LAS) to meet the needs of patients with limited English proficiency (LEP)
A Patient-Centered Guide to Implementing Language Access Services in Healthcare Organizations

Culturally competency programs with continuing education credits and other resources for physicians, pharmacists, and nurses to better meet the cultural and linguistic needs of an increasingly diverse patient population
Think Cultural Health

Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Spanish Resource Library
A plethora of resources have been adapted for Spanish speakers,  including brochures, fact sheets, multimedia materials, tools, technical assistance and training materials, videos and more
HRSA Spanish Resource Library (Biblioteca de recursos en español de la HRSA)

HealthReach (formerly Refugee Health Information Network [RHIN])
Multilingual resources for providers and patients including patient education materials, emergency preparedness information, mental health resources, screening tools and more in many languages (including Amharic, Arabic, Burmese, French, Karen, Oromo, Nepali, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Tigrinya, and more)
Home Page

International Medical Interpreters Association (IMIA)
The database includes glossaries, dictionaries, terminology databases, anatomy atlases, nomenclatures, thesauri, lexicons, vocabularies, manuals, encyclopedias and other word-based documents in the fields of medicine and healthcare in multiple languages
IMIA Terminology Resource Database

Laminated pamphlets that allow health professionals to communicate with anyone by pointing to pictures available for purchase
Medical Visual Language Translator

Limited English Proficiency, A Federal Interagency Website
Reservoir of resources for implementing Executive Order 13166, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its subsequent regulations regarding language access
Limited English Proficiency

National Center for Farmworker Health, Inc. (NCFH)
A special issue of the NCFH Quarterly Newsletter focusing on the Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Service (CLAS) Standards, cross-cultural communication, and overcoming barriers to cross-cultural healthcare
Migrant Health Newsline, Issue 1, 2012 


Asian Pacific Development Center (APDC)
Spreadsheet with links to resources in languages including Arabic, Bengali/Bangla, Chinese, Chuukese, Farsi, Fijian, Hindi, Hmong, Ilocano, Indonesian, Japanese, Karen, Khmer/Cambodian, Korean, Lao, Marshallese, Palauan, Panjabi/Punjabi, Rohingya, Samoan, Tagalog/Filipino, Te Reo Māori, Thai, Tongan, Urdu, and Vietnamese
In-Language Resources for COVID-19

Big Cities Health Coalition
Tool for health officials and their staff to use in the context of COVID-related decision-making
Equity Lens Tool

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Resources including ‘15 Ways to Slow the Spread,’ ‘What to do if you are sick,’ and more in 15 languages
COVID-19 Print Resources

Information and resources on health equity considerations during COVID-19
Health Equity Considerations and Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups

Stigma can negatively affect the emotional, mental, and physical health of stigmatized groups and the communities they live in. Stigmatized individuals may experience isolation, depression, anxiety, or public embarrassment. Stopping stigma is important to making all communities and community members safer and healthier
Reducing Stigma

ASL video series on COVID-19
Resources in American Sign Language

Seattle & King County
Information and guidance on COVID-19 including Public Health Recommendations translated into Amharic, Arabic, Chinese, Filipino, French, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Marshallese, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Thai, and Vietnamese
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)


Homeless & Public Housing Resources

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Resources

Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers and their Families (MSFW) Resources

Veterans Resources

Victims and Survivors of Human Trafficking Resources

Victims and Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence Resources