Bridging Gaps: The Vital Role of Cultural Competence in Healthcare

Originally presented on December 18, 2014

Wilma Alvarado-Little, M.A., M.S.W.
Language Access Advocate

James O’Barr, M.S.W.
Migrant Health Coordinator, N.E. Region, Hudson River Healthcare, Inc.

Health disparities have been identified among racial and ethnic minorities within the United States.  These disparities have been linked to health beliefs and behaviors, access to care, and quality of health care services.  Cultural competency is one area in healthcare training that addresses health disparities by creating awareness of sociocultural and racial bias among medical and public health professionals.  Jeannette South-Paul and Robert Like have stated in, Cultural Competence for the Health Workforce,  “Evidence of cultural (racial, ethnic, and religious, among other determinants) discordance between health care providers and the populations they serve suggests that every member of the health workforce must understand and implement culturally competent care as the foundation for improving the quality of services delivered.” 

Bridging Gaps: The Vital Role of Cultural Competence in Healthcare will present fundamental concepts on cultural and linguistic competence for medical and public health professionals. This webcast will demonstrate why cultural and linguistic competence is important and how it can facilitate dialogue, awareness, and learning to address diverse healthcare needs.

Program Objectives:
After watching this webcast participants will be able to:

  • Recognize the benefits of culturally and linguistically appropriate health services.
  • Describe methods for providing culturally and linguistically appropriate health services.
  • Explain why providing culturally competent care is essential to improving overall individual and population-based health outcomes. 


This webcast will be part of the training series “Advancing Cultural Competence in the Public Health and Health Care Workforce”. More information can be found at

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (January 01, 2013). CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report - United States, 2013. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 62. Retrieved from

Ponce, N. A., Tsui, J., Knight, S. J., Afable-Munsuz, A., Ladabaum, U., Hiatt, R. A., & Haas, J. S. (January 01, 2012). Disparities in cancer screening in individuals with a family history of breast or colorectal cancer. Cancer, 118, 6, 1656-63.

Van, R. M., Burgess, D., Malat, J., & Griffin, J. (January 01, 2006). Physicians' Perceptions of Patients' Social and Behavioral Characteristics and Race Disparities in Treatment Recommendations for Men With Coronary Artery Disease. American Journal of Public Health, 96, 2.

Lillie-Blanton, M., Martinez, R. M., & Salganicoff, A. (January 01, 2001). Site of medical care: do racial and ethnic differences persist?. Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics, 1, 15-32.

Holmes, D. E., & Association of Academic Health Centers (U.S.). (2008). From education to regulation: Dynamic challenges for the health workforce. Washington, D.C: Association of Academic Health Centers.

The planners, moderator, and presenters do not have any financial arrangements or affiliations with any commercial entities whose products, research or services may be discussed in this activity.

No commercial funding has been accepted for this activity.

Continuing Medical Education Credits

The School of Public Health, University at Albany is accredited by the Medical Society of the State of New York (MSSNY) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

The School of Public Health, University at Albany designates this enduring material for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 

Continuing Medical Education Credits are offered until December 31, 2017.

Continuing Nurse Education Contact Hours

The University at Albany School of Public Health is an Approved Provider of continuing nurse education by the Northeast Multi-State Division, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

This offering is approved for 1 nursing contact hour(s).

Nursing Contact Hours are offered until December 31, 2017.

Certified Health Education Specialist Contact Hours

Sponsored by the School of Public Health, University and Albany, SUNY, a designated provider of continuing education contact hours (CECH) in health education by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. This program is designated for Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES) and/or Master Certified Health Education Specialists (MCHES) to receive up to 1.0 total Category I contact education contact hours. Maximum advanced-level continuing education contact hours available are 0.

Continuing Education Contact Hours are offered until December 31, 2017. 

Social Work

University at Albany, School of Social Welfare, Social Work Continuing Education Program is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board of Social Workers as an approved provider of continuing education for Licensed Social Workers - #0011

This offering is approved for 1 social work self-study continuing education hour.

Social Work continuing education hours are offered until December 31, 2017.