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Cultural Competency

Provider cultural competency is defined as the ability of providers to effectively deliver health care services that meet the social, cultural, and linguistic needs of patients.  

Training: Cultural Competency and Americans with Disability Act

This training discusses why cultural competency and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements are important to care providers, including information on:

Impact of these requirements on care providers

  • Cultural competency overview
  • ADA overview
  • Provider's role in complying with these requirements

This training is available through UHC On Air. 

Continuing Education for Cultural Competency from the Office of Minority Health

The changing demographics of our country create new challenges for the provision of care. You may see that change happening in your own community.

UnitedHealthcare wants you to know about the resources from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Office of Minority Health, including a variety of cultural competency education modules for providers.

What Cultural Competency Means to Patient Care

Research has established that socio-cultural differences between patients and health care professionals influence many aspects of the medical encounter that can impact patient satisfaction, adherence, and health outcomes. 

  • Patients respond better when care instructions are delivered in their own language and their cultural background is taken into account. 
  • Knowledge of, and sensitivity to, cultural issues can impact the way patients share their medical needs, and how physicians and nurses can enhance communication, diagnosis and treatment.
  • For all patients, awareness of cultural subtleties by physicians and other health professionals can help improve patient care. 

Cultural education for health care professionals is an important component of improving the quality of care delivered to diverse patient populations and can help in addressing racial/ethnic disparities in health care.  

Cultural Competency Online Resources

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

This resource site offers two guides for defining cultural needs in managed care and developing appropriate services for them:

Other Resources

  • The Cross Cultural Health Care Program: A nonprofit organization to help ensure underserved communities full access to quality health care that is culturally and linguistically appropriate.
  • Language Line Services: Language interpretation for phone, video, and onsite interpreting, document translation services and localization, as well as bilingual staff and interpreter testing and training in more than 170 languages.
  • 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. For additional information, please visit the Office of Minority Health website.
  • Language Identification cards from (Limited English Proficiency): This tool helps identify languages spoken by individuals with limited English proficiency. The Language Flash Card contains 38 common languages.