Cultural Competency

Equitable health care for all

Understanding, supporting and embracing the social, language and cultural diversity is cultural competency. 

Why cultural competency matters

  • Reduces racial/ethnic health care disparities
  • Fosters connections between patients and health care professionals
  • Increases patient safety and eliminates miscommunications
  • Improves health equity and care outcomes
  • Increases patient satisfaction 
Smiling female provider and an older female patient

Examples of cultural competency in health care

Cultural awareness

Considering cultures, values and beliefs in treatment which can positively impact health outcomes.


Assessing social determinants of health that negatively impact a patient’s health and quality of life.


Download the I Speak card to help your patients identify their preferred language and arrange for interpretation services.

Equitable care, better health

Show your support this Minority Health Month by taking our Empathy: Social Care training.

This training will equip you with the knowledge and skills to help enhance your awareness into social care needs.

Take our training Equitable care, better health

Cultural competency training and education

Featured course: Americans with Disabilities Act

The ADA requires that people with disabilities have full and equal access to health care. Learn how the ADA affects you and your patients.

Free CME Credit Courses

Optum Health Education™ (OHE) A provider of interprofessional continuing education (IPCE). OHE is an accredited provider of medical, nursing, optometry, pharmacy, psychology, social work, dental and dietitian continuing education.

Department of Health and Human Services The Office of Minority Health offers accredited continuing education programs as well as tools to help you provide respectful, understandable and effective services.

Cultural competency resources

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Planning Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services
An approach to defining the needs of multi-ethnic members and developing culturally and linguistically appropriate services for them.

The Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit (3rd edition)
A free resource to improve interactions between patients and staff. For the fastest engagement, begin with the Quick Start Guide.

American Indian and Alaska Native Culture Card
The culture card enhances cultural competence when serving American Indian and Alaska Native communities. It covers regional differences, cultural customs, spirituality, communication styles, the role of veterans and older adults, and health disparities.

Georgetown University National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC)
The NCCC contributes to the body of knowledge on cultural and linguistic competency within systems and organizations. The Cultural and Linguistic Competence Health Practitioner Assessment (CLCHPA) self-guided learning activity developed by the NCCC, is designed to enhance the delivery of high-quality services for diverse patient/client populations and promote cultural and linguistic as essential approaches addressing health and healthcare disparities.

I Speak language assistance card for office
This resource allows individuals to identify their preferred language and provides directions to arrange interpretation services for UnitedHealthcare members.

Additional translation resources
This library contains comprehensive resources specific to limited English proficiency.

Office of Minority Health - Cultural Competency Section
The Office of Minority Health addresses disease prevention, health promotion, risk reduction, healthier lifestyle choices, use of health care services and barriers to health care for racial and ethnic minorities. Key strategies focused on fostering research, establishing networks and funding programs that can contribute to health policy and the effectiveness of strategies for improving health. 

U.S. Department of Health and Human Service Information on National CLAS Standards and education including free continuing education e-learning programs, resources to recorded presentations, quarterly newsletters, case study video units and more.