Field of Practice Resources

Key Cultural Competency Resources by Field

We have assembled on these pages a selection of resources on cultural competency in specific fields of practice.  These resources are intended to provide a broad overview and introduction to the topic. Whenever possible, we direct the reader to other websites with supplemental resources. Click on the topic area to access resources.

Child Welfare

Children’s Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Child Welfare Information Gateway: Cultural Competence Resources
Collection of resources to help workers, agencies, and systems better understand and enhance their cultural competence. Includes information on working with children, youth, and families; disproportional representation of minority groups in the child welfare system; culturally competent services; training for child welfare staff; and the specific role of cultural competence in child maltreatment, out-of-home care, and adoption. (Read More)

Culturally Responsive Child Welfare Practice, Special Issue of CW360, Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare, School of Social Work, University of Minnesota, Winter, 2015
This special issue is primarily focused on culturally responsive practice with American Indian and African American families, although not exclusively.  The issue is divided into three sections: overview, practice, and perspectives. The overview section explores cultural responsiveness and concepts related to culturally informed practice. This issue features an expanded practice section focusing on innovative, community developed practices. The perspectives section presents articles from child welfare stakeholders on practice implementation and the personal impact of addressing culture in our work. (Read More)


National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC), Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development
The mission of the NCCC is to increase the capacity of health care and mental health care programs to design, implement, and evaluate culturally and linguistically competent service delivery systems to address growing diversity, persistent disparities, and to promote health and mental health equity. The Center publishes the Cultural and Linguistic Competence Assessment for Disability Organizations (CLCADO). 

The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, Department of Pediatrics, Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.
The Boggs Center is New Jersey’s federally designated University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. The Center provides information on person-centered disability culture and offers training and technical assistance to individuals with disabilities, their family and support staff. The website is rich with resources, including publications and links to organizations serving people with disabilities.

 National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research, Do Cultural Competency Interventions Work?  A Systematic Review on Improving Rehabilitation Outcomes for Ethnically and Linguistically Diverse Individuals with Disabilities, Technical Brief No. 31, 2011, 12 pp.
This brief reports on a systematic review of disability-related empirical research bearing upon the efficacy of "cultural competency interventions." The team of nine researchers identified a total of 3,022 titles and abstracts of potentially relevant studies published between 1980 and the present. Only 22 studies, however, met the rigorous criteria for inclusion in the analysis, one of which was the use of control groups. Based on the analysis of these 22 studies, the researchers concluded that "culturally adapted interventions do improve rehabilitation outcomes for minority and immigrant individuals..." (Read More)

Center for International Rehabilitation Research Information and Exchange (CIRRIE), University of Buffalo, The Rehabilitation Provider’s Guide to Cultures of the Foreign-Born, 2001-2008
The thirteen monographs in this series contain specific information about the cultural backgrounds of recent immigrants in the U.S., with special attention given to how disability and rehabilitation are viewed in each culture. The monographs cover the top ten countries of origin of the foreign-born population: Mexico, China, Philippines, India, Vietnam, Dominican Republic, Korea, El Salvador, Jamaica, and Cuba. There are additional monographs on the culture of Haiti and the Muslim perspective. (Read More)

Multicultural Disability Advocacy Association of New South Wales, Culturally Competence Disability Support: Putting It Into Practice, a Review of the International and Australian Literature on Cultural Competence, 2004, 99 pp.This international literature review focuses on individual practice and skills, as opposed to system and organizational change. The author discusses the relationship between critical thinking, "scientific mindedness," ethnographic approaches and cultural competence, and calls attention to the theme of "empowerment" which underpins much of the literature. A section of the report discusses strategies for engaging families and ethnic communities in supporting individuals with disabilities. Finally, the author cites examples of effective outreach efforts to ethnic communities, including messaging strategies and media selection. (Read More)


Shannon B. Wanless & Patricia A. Crawford, Reading Your Way to a Culturally Responsive Classroom, National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), May, 2016This article discusses the topic of addressing race in early childhood with intentionality, and how there are a number of ways educators can approach this challenge within the classroom.  Using the term “Race Related Teaching Practices (RRTPs),” the authors highlight how children’s literature can open the door to these conversations, and give tips for selecting diverse children’s literature. (Read More)

Cheryl Irish & Monica Scrubb, “Five Competencies for Culturally Competent Teaching and Learning,” Faculty Focus, November 12, 2012
Today’s classrooms require that instructors possess competencies for teaching all students. Robust instructional strategies and culturally sensitive curricula are critical, but more important is an instructor who is sensitive and responsive to the unique differences of each student. Recognizing the need to strengthen specific competencies to reach and teach all students requires an understanding of new ideas and a willingness to view instruction through varied cultural lenses. (Read More)

E.B. Kozleski, Culturally Responsive Teaching Matters!, The Equity Alliance, January, 2010
In this article, culturally responsive teaching is defined and discussed, and is also linked to behavior management systems within the classroom. The article goes on to highlight key features of culturally responsive teaching, such as communicating with high expectations, actively engaging students in learning, sharing control of the classroom with students, exploring personal and family histories, and engaging in reflective thinking and writing. (Read More)

Emergency Services

National Consensus Panel on Emergency Preparedness and Cultural Diversity, Office of Minority Health, Guidance for Integrating Culturally Diverse Communities into Planning for and Responding to Emergencies: a Toolkit, February, 2011
The Toolkit is a "user-friendly reference guide, with succinct summaries of key principles, practices, and strategies for appropriately working with diverse communities," including those consisting of immigrants and other limited English proficient individuals. The Toolkit is divided into two main sections.  Section I presents the National Consensus Statement on Emergency Preparedness and Cultural Diversity originally released on June 11, 2008 - "a historic moment in the life of the nation's emergency preparedness efforts."  The preamble to the statement notes "that racial and ethnic minorities experience higher rates of injury, disease, traumatic stress, death and loss due to public health emergencies as compared with non-minority populations." Section II identifies eight guiding principles that agencies, organizations, and providers should consider to improve their effectiveness in reaching diverse communities, along with suggested strategies and practices consistent with each principle. An "underlying tenet" of the Toolkit is that "effective preparedness and response requires the ongoing and active engagement of diverse communities."  The Toolkit also features links to useful resources. (Read More)


Office of Minority Health (OMH), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health and Health Care: A Blueprint for Advancing and Sustaining CLAS Policy and Practice, April 2013
First developed by OMH in 2000, the national CLAS Standards have been widely circulated and implemented. In 2010, OMH launched a project to update the Standards to reflect growth in the field of cultural competency and increasing diversity in the nation.  The new Standards emerged out of an extensive consultation process with stakeholders and experts, many of whom recommended clarification as to the Standards' intention, terminology, and implementation strategies. The Standards now reflect a broader and more inclusive definition of culture, encompassing racial/ethnic, linguistic, religious/spiritual, sociological, and biological markers of difference. The Standards are also directed toward a broader audience than the original Standards, including policy makers and legislators, accrediting and credentialing agencies, educators, and community-based organizations. The 15 standards are grouped into three categories:  (1) Governance, Leadership, and Workforce; (2) Communication and Language Assistance; and (3) Engagement, Continuous Quality Improvement, and Accountability.  This publication contains both the standards and a "blueprint" for the implementation of each standard.  The Blueprint explains the purpose and components of each standard, along with model implementation practices and useful resources.
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Association of American Medical Colleges and Association of Schools of Public Health, Cultural Competence Education for Students in Medicine and Public Health: Report of an Expert Panel, 2012.
This curricular monograph from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) identifies a series of knowledge (cognitive), skills (practice), and attitudinal (values, beliefs) competencies that will help prepare practitioners in the medical and public health disciplines to work collaboratively in providing culturally competent care. These competencies can be used by “faculty in medical schools and graduate schools/programs of public health to standardize curricula, benchmark student performance, and prepare graduates for culturally competent practice.” Selected recommendations, practical implementation strategies, case studies, and a roadmap are provided.  Additional appendices include a mapping to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s (ACGME) six competency domains of medical knowledge, patient care, interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, practice-based learning and improvement, and systems-based practice, as well as selected Entrustable Professional Activities (EPAs). Links to a number of helpful MedEdPORTAL Abstracts and resources are also provided. (Read More)

Advancing Effective Communication, Cultural Competence, and Patient- and Family-Centered Care for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Community: A Field Guide, August 2011.
This excellent Field Guide was developed by the Joint Commission to assist hospitals, clinicians, administrators, and other health care professionals in building trust and making the health care environment more welcoming, inclusive, and safe for LGBT patients and their families.  Five chapters provide a compilation of strategies, practice examples, and resources relating to the following key subjects:  Leadership; Provision of Care, Treatment, and Services; Workforce; Data Collection and Use; and Patient, Family, and Community Engagement.  Several additional Appendices include:  Checklists to Advance Effective Communication, Cultural Competence, and Patient- and Family-Centered Care for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Community; Joint Commission Requirements Supporting Effective Communication, Cultural Competence, and Patient- and Family-Centered Care; Laws, Regulations, and Executive Materials; a Resource Guide, and a Glossary. (Read More)

Advancing Effective Communication, Cultural Competence, and Patient- and Family-Centered Care: A Roadmap for Hospitals, August 2010.
This excellent Roadmap was developed by the Joint Commission to assist hospitals, clinicians, administrators, and other health care professionals in communicating more effectively and providing culturally and linguistically competent, patient- and family-centered care to our increasingly diverse population. Six chapters address recommended issues and practice examples relating to the following key subjects:  Admission; Assessment; Treatment; End-of-Life Care; Discharge and Transfer; and Organization Readiness. Helpful checklists are provided that summarize best and promising practices. Several additional Appendices include: Current Joint Commission Requirements; New Joint Commission Standards; Laws and Regulations; a Resource Guide; and a Glossary. (Read More)

Cultural Competency: An Organizational Strategy for High-Performing Delivery Systems. NQF Issue Brief No. 14, Washington, DC: NQF. April, 2009, pp. 1-6.
This Issue Brief from the National Quality Forum (NQF) discusses how developing cultural competency is a strategy that can help health care organizations to reduce disparities and foster equity in health care.  Four Guiding Principles of Cultural Competence are offered. An operational framework and the following NQF Seven Primary Domains for Measuring and Reporting Cultural Competency are reviewed:  Leadership; Integration Into Management Systems and Operations; Patient-Provider Communication; Care Delivery and Supporting Mechanisms; Workforce Diversity and Training; Community Engagement; Data Collection, Public Accountability, and Quality Improvement. Two case studies share experiences from Kaiser Permanente Health System and New York-Presbyterian Hospitals. (Read More)

Law Enforcement

David Vialpando, Community Engagement through Cultural Competency, The Police Chief, July, 2016
Several controversial incidents across the United States involving law enforcement have raised the ire of segments of U.S. communities and shaken the trust some citizens have in their public safety officers. Several strategies are currently being employed to address misperception, share the facts, and restore trust. These strategies include timely dissemination of factual information, enhancing community-oriented policing initiatives, and integrating best practices in law enforcement patrol operations. Consideration should also be given to encouraging community engagement through the development of cultural competency among agency law enforcement personnel. (Read More)

Vera Institute of Justice, Police Perspectives Guidebook Series: Building Trust in a Diverse Nation, 2016
Law enforcement officers must be able to fairly and effectively engage with all communities in their jurisdiction. As the country continues to diversify, officers must cultivate trust and collaboration with communities that have various languages, cultures, and customs, to ensure public safety for all. Since 2014, the nation has focused on how police respond to contentious encounters, how and when they use force, and the disparate impact of policing on people of color. This three-part series—written for police, by police—seeks to fill the knowledge and practice gap in effective policing, highlighting practical, field-informed approaches to building trust with multiracial, multiethnic communities. (Read More)

Mental Health

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), Tip 59: Improving Cultural Competence, n.d.The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is the agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation.  SAMHSA's mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America's communities. makes substance use and mental disorder information, services and research easily accessible. SAMHSA publishes TIPs or Treatment Improvement Protocols for behavioral health professionals.  TIP 59, Improving Cultural Competence, is a comprehensive guide for best practices in culturally competent counseling skills. (Read More)

Mental Health America, Resources on Cultural CompetencyMental Health America is the nation's leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to mental health support, recovery and advocacy.  Mental Health America believes that it is essential that all aspects of mental health systems be reflective of the diversity of the communities that they serve and that mental health agencies strive to become and remain culturally and linguistically competent. The Mental Health America website includes a powerful statement on cultural and linguistic competency in mental health systems, as well as fact sheets on communities such as, Latinos, African Americans, Asian American/Pacific Islanders and Native Americans. (Read More)

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, is the nation's largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of American affected by mental illness.  NAMI provides support to those in need through education, advocacy and public awareness events.  NAMI is a source of relevant and current information on multicultural awareness and engagement. (Read More)

Stanley Sue et al, The Case for Cultural Competency in Psychotherapeutic Interventions, PMC, 2009
Cultural competency practices have been widely adopted in the mental health field because of the disparities in the quality of services delivered to ethnic minority groups. In this review, the authors examine the meaning of cultural competency, positions that have been taken in favor of and against it, and the guidelines for its practice in the mental health field. Empirical research that tests the benefits of cultural competency is discussed. (Read More)