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CME: The role of cultural competence in healthcare: cultural and linguistic competence


Activity Description / Statement of Need:

In this online, self-learning activity:

Cultural competence has been defined in a variety of ways. According to the CDC, cultural competence is 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.” In the setting of healthcare, practicing cultural competence can improve the ability of HCPs to meet the social, cultural, and linguistic needs of patients, which may ultimately improve health outcomes among diverse groups of patients with unique sociocultural identities including race, ethnicity, gender, and sexual orientation.

Target Audience:

The following healthcare professionals: Physicians, pharmacists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and other HCPs.

Commercial Support Disclosure: This program is supported by educational grants from Gilead and Novocure.

Learners may participate in this activity free of charge.

Release Date: April 15, 2021 -- Expiration Date: May 15, 2023

Faculty: Dora Hughes, MD


Introduction, disclosures

Overview of models and dimensions of cultural competence

  • Diversity in cultures and identities
    • Race, ethnicity, heritage, and ancestry
    • Gender and sexual orientation
    • Language
    • Religion and culture
    • Socioeconomic status
  • Models and definitions
    • Cultural competence
    • Cultural safety

Cultural competence within the context of power, privilege, and historical oppression

  • How do identities influence access and opportunity?
    • Housing
    • Income
    • Education
    • Access to resources, including insurance and health care
    • Safety and exposure to violence and trauma
  • Impact of bias, stereotyping, and discrimination on health outcomes
  • Privilege and power
    • Systemic impact
    • Impact on provider relationships with patients
    • What does it mean to be an ally?
    • Self-awareness

Practical applications in healthcare

  • Identifying and handling implicit and explicit bias
  • Self-assessment tools
  • Inclusivity
  • Communication skills
  • Ensuring representation among clinicians and staff
  • Working with interpreters

Summary, conclusions, and best practice recap


Additional resources on cultural and linguistic competency can be found below:

Assembly Bill 1195 -

Top Health Issues for LGBT Populations -

The Cross-Cultural Health Care Program -

California Academy of Family Physicians -

On-line dictionary providing translations into 25 different languages -

Center for the Health Care Professions -‐ Towards Culturally Competent Care: Toolbox for Teaching Communication Strategies -

Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality - Planning Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services -

National Council on Interpreting in Health Care -

Brief Review of Federal and State Law Regarding Linguistic Access and Services for Limited English Proficient Persons -


Learning Objectives

By the end of the session the participant will be able to:

  • Recall barriers to treating members of LGBTQ communities and strategies for overcoming them.
  • Recognize barriers to treating non-English speakers and strategies for overcoming them.
  • Identify barriers to treating underserved communities and strategies for overcoming them.
  • Formulate a strategy for treating a patient in a culturally competent manner.


ACCME Activity #201746225


Faculty Disclosure and Resolution of COI

As a provider of continuing medical education, it is the policy of ScientiaCME to ensure balance, independence, objectivity, and scientific rigor in all of its educational activities. In accordance with this policy, faculty and educational planners must disclose any significant relationships with commercial interests whose products or devices may be mentioned in faculty presentations, and any relationships with the commercial supporter of the activity. The intent of this disclosure is to provide the intended audience with information on which they can make their own judgments. Additionally, in the event a conflict of interest (COI) does exist, it is the policy of ScientiaCME to ensure that the COI is resolved in order to ensure the integrity of the CME activity. For this CME activity, any COI has been resolved thru content review ScientiaCME.

Faculty Disclosures: Dora Hughes, MD, MPH, Associate Research Professor, George Washington University, discloses that she has received financial compensation as a consultant from Dentaquest, Providence St. Joseph, and Valneva.

Disclosures of Educational Planner: Charles Turck, PharmD, BCPS, BCCCP, President of ScientiaCME, has no relevant conflicts of interest to disclose.

Commercial Support Disclosure: This program is supported by educational grants from Gilead and Novocure.


  • Read the learning objectives above
  • Take the Pre-Test (optional). Completion of the pre-test will help us evaluate the knowledge gained by participating in this CME activity.
  • View the online activity. You may view this is in more than one session, and may pause or repeat any portion of the presentation if you need to.
  • Minimum participation threshold: Take the post-test. A score of 70% or higher is required to pass and proceed to the activity evaluation.
  • Complete the activity evaluation and CME registration. A CE certificate will be emailed to you immediately.

Cultural/Linguistic Competence & Health Disparities

System Requirements

Windows 7 or above
Internet Explorer 8
*Adobe Acrobat Reader
Mac OS 10.2.8
Safari or Chrome or Firefox
*Adobe Acrobat Reader
Internet Explorer is not supported on the Macintosh

*Required to view Printable PDF Version

Perform Pre-Test (optional)

Please take a few minutes to participate in the optional pre-test. It will help us measure the knowledge gained by participating in this activity.

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