Cultural Competency

Cultural Competence:
  • Is an ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures & deliver culturally appropriate services
  • Is a set of behaviors, attitudes and policies are present in a system, agency, or among professionals enabling effective work in cross-cultural situations
  • Requires 4 cognitive components:
    • Awareness. Awareness is consciousness of one’s personal reactions to people who are different, ‘my worldview as influenced by my own position’ – ‘what are my biases and prejudices?’.
    • Attitude. Emphasizes the difference between training that increases awareness of cultural bias and beliefs, in general and training that has participants carefully examine their own beliefs and values about cultural differences.
    • Knowledge. Our values and beliefs about equality may be inconsistent with our behaviors, and we may be unaware of it – what is my knowledge about other cultural groups and their power?
    • Skills. Focuses on practicing cultural competence with an intentional commitment to lifelong learning and the development of cross-cultural skills.
  • A developmental process (for individuals, systems and organizations) that evolves over time as one moves across the cultural competence continuum
  • Requires considerable effort to develop, as well as searching for role models, and spending as much time as possible with other people who share a passion for cultural competence
Please check out the following resources to learn more about cultural competence:
Articles & Books: Mercedes Martin & Billy E. Vaughn (2007). Strategic Diversity & Inclusion Management magazine, pp. 31–36. DTUI Publications Division: San Francisco, CA. Nine-Curt, Carmen Judith. (1984) Non-verbal Communication in Puerto Rico. Cambridge, Massachusetts. Melanie Tervalon and Jann Murray-Garcia. (1998). Cultural humility versus cultural competence. Journal of Health Care for the Poor McGowan, Thomas (2011). Interpretive competence. Unpublished Lum, Doman. (2010). Culturally competent practice: A framework for understanding diverse groups and social justice. Cengage Learning Publishing Websites:
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