Building Cultural Competence in Health and Social Services

Why Cultural Competency?


In October of 2003 the Cross Cultural Health Care Program conducted a CLAS Standards study, Reflections on the CLAS Standards: Best Practices, Innovations and Horizons. This CCHCP study, prepared for the Office of Minority Health, covers important CLAS topics including: origins of the CLAS Standards, site visits and profiles of five centers, oversight authorities, common themes, and literature review.

Email for a free copy of this report.


What is Cultural Competency?

CCHCP approaches the issue of cultural competence from a unique perspective which acknowledges its complex, systemic nature. CCHCP’s approach places culture within the context of an interwoven network of relationships–between language and tradition, tradition and history, history and economics, etc. Consequently, the work of CCHCP has substantively differed from that of most organizations in the field that tend to deal only with pieces of the puzzle of cultural competence.




“Cultural competence is a set of congruent behaviors, attitudes, and policies that come together in a system or agency or among professionals that enable effective interactions in a cross-cultural framework.”

Terry Cross, PhD

“To be culturally competent doesn’t mean you are an authority in the values and beliefs of every culture. What it means is that you hold a deep respect for cultural differences and are eager to learn, and willing to accept, that there are many ways of viewing the world.”

Okokon O. Udo, PhD

“Cultural Competency is the ability of individuals and systems to respond respectfully and effectively to people of all cultures, classes, races, ethnic backgrounds and religions in a manner that recognizes, affirms, and values the cultural differences and similarities and the worth of individuals, families, and communities and protects and preserves the dignity of each.”

Seattle-King County Public Health

“Cultural competence involves recognition and respect for differences among patients in terms of their values, expectations, and experiences with health care, while at the same time recognizing the culture-based practices and dictates of organized medicine, and the values, expectations, and experiences of the providers who practice it. Culturally competent care becomes possible only with the skillful management of the interplay between these elements which make up a medical encounter, and determine the points of access or barrier at the institutional level.”

CCHCP’s Equity and Inclusion Curriculum


What does CCHCP’s Equity and Inclusion Program offer?


  • Cultural Competency Training in Health and Human Services

  • Training of Trainers Institute


  • C-CAT Organizational Assessment

  • Community Needs Assessment

  • Cultural Competency Initiatives

  • Coalition Building

  • Curriculum and Material Review

  • Assessment and Recommendation Analysis Review

Our Reach


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