Think Cultural Health News

Advancing Health Equity at Every Point of Contact

February 2010

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Welcome to the inaugural edition of the Think Cultural Health Newsletter! We are pleased to add this resource to the offerings that come from the HHS Office of Minority Health. Our Think Cultural Health site features a suite of free cultural competency continuing education programs for diverse audiences and continues to be a cutting edge tool in the efforts to eliminate racial and ethnic health disparities in the United States. With interactive features such as Ask the Expert we hope that you will find Think Cultural Health News an excellent addition to your resource collection.


Dr. Garth Graham
Deputy Assistant Secretary, Office of Minority Health, Health and Human Services

Findings from an Evaluation of the TCH Nursing Continuing Education Program

The Think Cultural Health Team recently completed a Two-Year Evaluation of Culturally Competent Nursing Care: A Cornerstone of Caring, the Office of Minority Health's accredited cultural competency continuing education program for nurses. To evaluate the program, both qualitative and quantitative data analysis was used. A control group was used as a baseline comparison against curriculum participation. In addition, focus groups were conducted throughout the country to assess several major themes, including participants' satisfaction with their learning experience, knowledge gained, attitude and behavior changes, and ultimate impact/potential for reducing health disparities. Pre- and posttest scores were also examined using a variety of statistical methodologies.

Findings indicate that participation in the curriculum results in increased knowledge and awareness of cultural competency; provides skills and tools to enhance the role of cultural competency in nurse-patient interactions; and offers methods to change attitudes amongst nurses dealing with patients within different racial/ethnic categories. Focus group comments indicated that nurses found the program well designed and educational. Regarding behavior change, when comparing participant and control group responses, results indicated that increases in test scores, and subsequent awareness of new skills, was attributable to participation in the program. The program shows the potential for changing health care practice settings, improving health outcomes, and ultimately mitigating racial/ethnic health disparities.

The full Two Year Evaluation Report is available on the Think Cultural Health Web site at

Please feel free to contact the Think Cultural Health team at with any questions about the evaluation.

Preparedness in Diverse Communities in California

The recent wildfires in California, combined with recent research about community preparedness levels throughout the state, provide a grim reminder of the necessity of culturally competent services before, during, and after a disaster.

The Center for Health Equality at Drexel University recently released a report indicating that, although California is among the states that made the most advances in cultural and linguistic competency initiatives, it is struggling with emergency preparedness within its diverse communities. Wildfires and earthquakes are common in California, and its population continues to grow in diversity, with over 40% of the population non-White (U.S. Census Bureau, 2007). As a result, preparedness efforts need to include many different cultural groups and information in a variety of languages.

While many of the challenges to effective emergency preparedness in diverse communities listed in the report may be hard to combat, factors such as limited knowledge about diverse communities and limited culturally and linguistically appropriate services are easier to address. The Office of Minority Health and the Think Cultural Health team have created their newest initiative, the Cultural Competency Curriculum for Disaster Preparedness and Crisis Response, to help increase knowledge, skills, and abilities to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services at all stages of a disaster. This FREE interactive continuing education program is available online, and is accredited for First Responders, Psychologists/Psychiatrists, and Social Workers.

To learn more about the Cultural Competency Curriculum for Disaster Preparedness and Crisis Response, or to register for the program, please visit

Language Access

A new report from Common Sense Advisory examines what effect health care reform, specifically "America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009", will have on language access services and those individuals with limited English proficiency. Strategies to improve language access detailed in this bill include appropriate translation and interpretation services in health care and the provision of cultural and linguistic competency training.

Think Cultural Health houses several continuing education programs which focus on cultural competency training and the provision of appropriate language access services. Also available to users at no cost is the Health Care Language Services Implementation Guide, created to assist health care organizations in implementing effective language access services to limited English proficient (LEP) patients. The Guide provides health care organizations with an accessible, comprehensive, and practical tool to assist in LAS planning, implementation, and evaluation. The process for carrying out each step for LAS implementation is explained in detail and supplemented with links to resources and tips on alternative methods. The Guide is patient-centered and targets audiences at different levels, including community health centers, clinics, hospitals, physician practices, mental health institutions, dental offices, long-term care facilities, and substance abuse treatment centers.

For more information on the Health Care Language Services Implementation Guide or to register to use this free resource, please visit the Think Cultural Health site at

What Are We Up To?

  • National Emergency Management Summit March 3-5, 2010
  • National Hispanic Medical Association Annual Conference March 25-28, 2010
  • American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine Annual Conference April 7-10, 2010
  • SOPHE/Prevention Research Centers Joint Conference April 8-9, 2010

Think Cultural Health will be doing several presentations in March and April. We will be presenting our newest curriculum, Cultural Competency Curriculum for Disaster Preparedness and Crisis Response, at the 4th National Emergency Management Summit, March 3-5 in Washington, DC. We will also be presenting on the Physician's Practical Guide to Culturally Competent Care program at the NHMA Conference March 25-28 in Washington, DC, as well as at the AACOM Conference April 7-10 in North Bethesda, MD, and at the SOPHE/PRC Conference April 8-9 in Atlanta, GA. Please stop by and see us!

Is there a specific conference or professional event you think the Think Cultural Health team should be present for? Email us and let us know at