Cultural Competence

Cultural and linguistic competence is a way of acting and thinking (both as an individual and as a company) that allows you to work effectively with people of different cultures than yours.

Culture means language, thoughts, actions, customs, beliefs, values and institutions of racial, ethnic, religious, or communities.

Competence means being able to function effectively as an individual and an organization.

Why is it important?

Cultural competency is very important to make sure that people all get the same quality of healthcare. It is also a way to stop discrimination against some groups or communities.

It’s also a way patients and doctors can come together and talk about health without cultural differences making the conversation difficult.

Quite simply, healthcare workers and companies that are “culturally competent” provide better care to their patients.

Did you know? Culture and language may influence:

  • What people believe about health and healing
  • How illness, disease, and their causes are understood
  • How patients/consumers feel about their healthcare providers
  • Decisions caregivers make regarding treatment


Employers Say...

“In Western Massachusetts, we have so many people from different cultures and who speak many different languages. We actively look to hire a workforce that reflects this diversity. You may also hear the term cultural competence. This means that we want employees who are respectful of and work well with people who have a background and culture different than theirs.”