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Teaching Cultural Competence in Health Care: A Review of Current Concepts, Policies and Practices


The purpose of this report is to synthesize findings regarding the concepts, policies, and teaching practices with respect to culturally competent health care. The information prescribed provides family physicians with a context and rationale for cultural competence; information specifically relating to the three main culturally and linguistically appropriate services (CLAS) themes—culturally competent care, language access services, and organizational supports—and information related to pedagogical issues of curricula and training.

This report is organized into the following six sections:

  • Executive summary
  • Introduction: Definition of cultural competence
  • Context and rationale for cultural competence curricula in health care
    • The importance of cultural competence in three research contexts
    • Policies and laws promoting culturally and linguistically appropriate services
    • Medicare and Medicaid policies
  • Three themes of the CLAS standards
    • Culturally competent care
    • Language access services
    • Organizational supports
  • Curricula and training
  • Conclusion
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American Institutes for Research

Funding Sources

Office of Minority Health; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

QualityTool Topic



  • Release Date: 03/2002
  • Original Summary: 05/2006
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Last updated: May 09, 2012.