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Newly developed cultural competence research agenda now available online

In recent years the notion of cultural competence has come to encompass both interpersonal and organizational interventions, as well as strategies designed to facilitate the achievement of clinical and public health goals when racial, ethnic, cultural, and linguistic differences come into play. Setting the Agenda for Research on Cultural Competence in Health Care, sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Minority Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, systematically reviews and abstracts the results of published and ongoing research on cultural competence interventions and identifies research questions to form an agenda for future study. By establishing the evidence base for action and identifying gaps in knowledge, Setting the Agenda supports implementation of the national standards for culturally and linguistically appropriate services in health care that were published by HHS in 2000.

The research agenda—developed in consultation with an expert committee of key researchers, policymakers, and health care providers—is organized around three groups of cultural competence interventions, as follows:

  • Culturally sensitive interventions. Topics focus on cultural competence education and training, including impact on both providers and patients; racial, ethnic, and linguistic concordance; community health workers; culturally competent health promotion; family and community involvement in health care delivery; and coordination of conventional medicine and traditional practices.
  • Language assistance. Potential research topics in this group focus on interventions for language barriers, bilingual services, oral interpretation, and translation of written materials.
  • Organizational supports. These research questions focus on management, policy, and implementation strategies to institutionalize cultural competence activities; community involvement in cultural competence program planning, design, implementation, governance, training, and research; design and use of surveys and profile instruments to plan for services and measure satisfaction and quality; and cultural competence self-assessments, ethnic data collection, and development of community profiles.

In addition to the comprehensive research agendas for the three groups of interventions, the final report identifies methodological challenges to conducting research on cultural competence and includes detailed matrices of the extensive literature review. It also includes questions addressed in the studies, study methodologies, and major findings.

Select for a summary of the report.

Print copies of the report (Publication No. 474) can be ordered from the Office of Minority Health Resource Center by calling 1-800-444-6471.

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