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Cultural compentencyForeign Born/Spanish SpeakingU.S. Born/African AmericanCorrectionsblank space

The ability to deliver high quality care to patients as our population becomes more diverse is a challenge that can be overcome through awareness, education, and the practice of cultural competency skills. The following information provides resources to assist the southeast in meeting the diverse needs of our patient groups

What is Cultural Competency?

One of the most widely accepted definition of cultural competency is provided by Joseph Betancourt, MD. He states the following:

"Cultural competence is not a panacea that will single-handedly improve health outcomes and eliminate disparities, but a necessary set of skills for physicians who wish to deliver high-quality care to all patients. If we accept this premise, we will see cultural competence as a movement that is not marginal, but mainstream."

Excerpt from "Cultural Competence-Marginal or Mainstream Movement?" by Joseph R. Betancourt, M.D., M.P.H. published in New England Journal of Medicine 351:10, September 2, 2004.

Why is Cultural Competence important?

The increasing population growth of racial and ethnic communities and linguistic groups, each with its own cultural traits and health profiles, presents a challenge to the health care delivery service industry in this country. The provider and the patient each bring their individual learned patterns of language and culture to the health care experience which must be transcended to achieve equal access and quality health care.

What's the Difference? Cultural Competence, Awareness, and Sensitivity

Cultural competence emphasizes the idea of effectively operating in different cultural contexts. Knowledge, sensitivity, and awareness do not include this concept

Cultural competence is a developmental process that evolves over an extended period. Both individuals and organizations are at various levels of awareness, knowledge and skills along the cultural competence continuum.

By highlighting the importance of Cultural Competency, we hope to connect TB healthcare professionals with resources and technical assistance to ensure that their staff and institution have appropriate tools to create a culturally competent TB workforce. In addition to providing resources on Culturally Competency, we have included specific information on the following groups: foreign-born, Spanish speaking population, U.S. born African Americans, and the culture of Corrections. Hopefully these resources will assist TB healthcare professionals in meeting the needs of diverse patient groups and ultimately continue to enhance the patient-provider relationship.


TB-specific Cultural Competency Resources

General Cultural Competency Resources

Patient and Community Education Materials

SNTC is not responsible for (or endorsing) these organizations and/or resources but is simply providing you with links. This is not a complete or exhaustive list of all the related resources. We would appreciate receiving any new updated information about culturally competent health care resources for inclusion here. Please email us at

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