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.

Continuing Education credits expired for this activity in December 2017. We encourage you to fill out the evaluation as it helps us plan for future programs. Thank you!