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Health of Latino, Latina, and Latinx Individuals: Cultural Humility and Cultural Competence in Patient Care

Created by Health Science Librarians

Cultural Competence vs. Cultural Humility: What's the Difference?

What is "cultural competence"?

Cultural competence refers to the convergence of attitudes, practices, and policies that allow people and organizations to function well in cross-cultural situations (Cross et al., 1989; National Prevention Information Network, 2020).

What is "cultural humility"?

Cultural humility is a continuous process of achieving cultural understanding and awareness. It requires a commitment to lifelong learning, critical self-reflection on one's own beliefs and practices, and the challenging of power imbalances (Tervalon, M., & Murray-García, 1998).

Both terms are used throughout the healthcare professions.

Four Ways to Practice Cultural Humility

Commit to lifelong learning.

Be self-critical.

Challenge power imbalances.

Hold institutions accountable.

(Adapted from Tervalon & Murray-García,1998)

Cultural Competence Continuum (adapted from Cross et al., 1989)

Cultural Destructiveness

Cultural Incapacity

Cultural Blindness

Cultural Pre-Competence

Cultural Competence

Cultural Proficiency

Actively destroying culture through policies and practices
Maintaining cultural biases and overt/covert discriminatory practices
Expressing a belief in equity but encouraging cultural assimilation
Recognizing problems and taking steps to improve cultural sensitivity (i.e. training employees, changing hiring practices)
Embracing cultural differences, seeking out knowledge about different cultures, and being open to advice from minorities on how to improve practices
Actively promoting multicultural education and advocating for cultural competence

Cross, T., Bazron, B., Dennis, K., & Isaacs, M. (1989, March). Towards a culturally competent system of care. National Institute of Mental Health, Child and Adolescent Service System Program.

Cultural Humility and Cultural Competence: Educational Resources

Cultural Competence: Training and Standards