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Cultural Competence Exchange Newsletter

November 1999

Consistent with NCCC experience over the past four years, the BPHC has noted that the greatest need for support to programs around cultural and linguistic competence is at the policy level. Without policies that support, mandate and provide resources for culturally competent practices, programs struggle to move along the cultural competence continuum. Thus, the NCCC's first order of business is to support the BPHC?s focus on policy.

An additional philosophical underpinning for the BPHC Project is that cultural and linguistic competence is not added into training, to program, to practice or to policy. Cultural and linguistic competence must be infused throughout everything organizations, practitioners and individuals do. This philosophy permeates the activities of this past year and will continue to guide NCCC?s efforts with the BPHC and its programs.

Several products developed during this first year of the BPHC Project focus on policy. The first is a series of Policy Briefs--short, but informative documents to help programs consider policy issues in a variety of areas in terms of cultural and linguistic competence. Each Policy Brief provides a rationale for the infusion of cultural and linguistic competence in a particular aspect of policy, includes concrete suggestions and approaches related to policy development and has a brief self-assessment checklist at the end. The first Policy brief--Rationale for Cultural Competence in Primary Care--is in PDF form on the NCCC Web site. Three other briefs available on the the NCCC Web site cover the following topics:

  • Cultural Competence in Primary Health Care: Partnerships for a Research Agenda
  • Linguistic Competence in Primary Health Care Settings
  • Engaging Communities to Achieve 100% Access and 0 Disparities

Based on NCCC?s philosophy that cultural and linguistic competence does not stand alone, staff will disseminate Infusing Themes and Content on Cultural and Linguistic Competence: A Guide for Conference Planners. This document emerged from the numerous consultations with meeting planners and the numerous requests for presentations on cultural and linguistic competence at meetings and conferences for the primary care community. This is a joint product with MCHB. This guide will help planners consider issues of culture in planning both logistics of meetings as well as in giving guidance to speakers. The intent is to help meeting planners infuse the issue of cultural and linguistic competence throughout all aspects of a meeting, rather than having a separate session on cultural competence.

Finally, the NCCC knows that when organizations begin to address cultural and linguistic competence, it can seem overwhelming. Thus, the NCCC has developed a helpful set of guidelines called Getting Started: Implementing and Evaluating Culturally Competent Service Delivery Systems in Primary Health Care: Implications for Policymakers and Administrators (Available in hard copy upon request from NCCC). In addition, the NCCC provides consultation to BPHC funded programs and other key audiences including providing materials for existing newsletters, Web sites, programs and meetings and new products and documents.

Future activities of the BPHC Project include:

    • modifying an existing or creating a new tool to assess cultural competence at the policy level within Community and Migrant Health Centers and applying that tool to three BPHC funded programs in order to document lessons learned;
    • developing and disseminating a fifth Policy Brief related to cultural and linguistic competence in primary health care;
    • collaborating with the Office of Minority and Women?s Health to develop a monograph on culturally competent approaches to partner faith-based organizations to increase health care access and decrease health disparities;
    • developing a practice guide for diabetes that will address health beliefs and practices cross-culturally. This guide will help practitioners when they encounter individuals with health beliefs different from their own.

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Page last modified December 1999

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