Cultural Competence

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Cultural Competence

Efforts to expand cultural competence in health and mental health are recent but growing rapidly.  Here are several resources organized by topic.


NASW has developed Standards for Cultural Competency in Social Work Practice.  (Sadly this page now requires a member login and password.)

The Department of Health and Human Services offers generic standards for culturally competent services.

Georgetown University has a center dedicated to cultural competence with many resources and links.

The American Institute for Research offers a solid starting point for exploring cultural competence.   (Definitions, approaches, how to get involved, etc.)

CEO Services also offers cultural competence materials and information

Health Care

The American Medical Association offers a lengthy resource guide for practitioners.  Includes content on communication skills, key needs of specific populations.  Also addresses issues of religions and spiritual practices.

The American Family Physician argues for cultural competence -- understanding diverse values, traditions and cultural institutions -- is central to improving patient care. 

Mental Health

The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education offers policy guides for culturally competent practice with African-Americans, Latinos, Asians and Native Americans

The American Psychological Association offers practice guidelines for practice with culturally and linguistically diverse populations.

The Journal of Counseling and Development offers an article on the ways culture influences psychosocial adaptation.  (in .pdf format - requires Acrobat Reader. Document begins at p. 281)

The National Women's Health Information Center offers information on substance abuse and mental health for minority women.

The National Academy Press offers a book chapter examining the psychological and social costs of migration on youth.

The American Counseling Association offers an article focusing on counseling with clients of different religions.


The Journal of Counseling and Development also offers the results of a national survey on counselor's perceptions of their cross-cultural competence.  (in .pdf format - requires Acrobat Reader. Document begins at p. 294)


The Department of Health and Human Services offers guidelines for culturally competent research.

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started 5/01; last updated 4/24/02