Cultural and Linguistic Care

Culturally and Linguistically Competent Care is all about providing the best possible care to all members of the community. Nationwide trends show a dramatic shift in population including future projections: By 2045 the nation will become majority minority (all people except those that are non-Hispanic, single-race white). Understanding diverse cultures – their values, traditions, history and institutions – is not simply political correctness. It is integral to eliminating health care disparities and providing high-quality customer service and care.

Why Is Culturally and Linguistically Competent Care Important in Stark County?

Culturally and Linguistically Competent Care in Stark County will (1) aim to eliminate or reduce cultural, racial, ethnic or geographical disparities as well as (2) eliminate barriers to services and increase access, quality and outcomes for underserved populations. Efficient and relevant services for all of Stark County generate better outcomes and avoid inappropriately and/or inadequately serving Stark County’s underserved populations. Culturally and linguistically appropriate services are respectful of and responsive to individual cultural health beliefs and practices, preferred languages, health literacy levels and communication needs and employed by all members of an organization at every point of contact.

Understanding Cultural & Linguistic Competence

Cultural Competence is a set of values and principles that are reflected within the behaviors, attitudes, policies and structures of agencies, family/youth organizations, providers and community stakeholders to result in appropriate and effective services for all.

Linguistic Competence is the capacity of personnel to communicate effectively and convey information in a manner that is easily understood by diverse audiences. Linguistic Competence involves the development of interagency and internal capacity to respond effectively to the mental health literacy and communication needs of the populations served, and to possess the policy, structures, practices, procedures and dedicated resources to support this capacity.

Source: Adapted from Cross T., Bazron, B., Dennis, K., & Isaacs, M. (1989)

Four Components of Cultural Competence

  1. Awareness: Having the capacity for cultural self-assessment
  2. Sensitivity: Becoming conscious of the microdynamics inherent in cultural interactions
  3. Knowledge: Developing knowledge about other cultures
  4. Skills: Reflecting acknowledgment in Relationship

Source:, accessed Oct. 8, 2015

Six Domains of Cultural and Linguistic Competence

  1. Governance and organizational infrastructure
  2. Services and supports
  3. Planning and continuous quality improvements
  4. Collaboration
  5. Communication
  6. Workforce development

Source:, accessed Oct. 8, 2015

Cultural Competence and CLAS Standards

The National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care (the National CLAS Standards) are intended to advance health equity, improve quality and help eliminate health care disparities by providing a blueprint for individuals and health and health care organizations to implement culturally and linguistically appropriate services.

*CLAS standards have been adopted by the Office of Health and Human Services – Office of Minority Health. Additional information and resources on Cultural Competence can be found on the following websites:

Office of Minority Health

Georgetown University National Center for Cultural Competence

For training questions, please contact the Training Coordinator, at 330-455-6644.

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