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Providing Care to Diverse Populations

Policy Options Groups Report

To discuss some of the issues presented in greater detail, the participants broke into small discussion groups. These groups focused on three areas:

  • Standards development.
  • Education & training.
  • Purchasing.

The following are some of the key points that the small groups discussed.

Standards Development

The standards development group highlighted many of the important considerations and requirements in the development of cultural competence standards. They focused on three major areas including:

  • How to get buy-in, measure accountability, and provide technical assistance for organizations that you want to set standards for (i.e., health maintenance organizations, provider organizations).
  • How to develop standards (what is the process and who are the resource people?).
  • How to define and operationalize cultural competence.

Education & Training

The education and training group synthesized the information that had been presented formally and addressed the following key issues:

  • Education versus training: It should be an ongoing effort, not a one-time experience.
  • Resistance: Understanding that data drives policy, but anecdotes are also important because stories can move public opinion and have an impact on change.


The purchasing group discussed issues concerning requirements for purchasing health services. This group highlighted the following points from their discussion:

  • Data collection is critical, and race and ethnicity data must not be ignored.
  • Cultural competence should be treated as a component of quality of care. It must be built into the contract and monitored effectively.
  • Costs and risk in the marketplace for providing services for these populations must be considered.

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AHRQ Advancing Excellence in Health Care