Culturally adapted health care
- Tailored care to patients’ norms, beliefs, values, language, and literacy skills
- Can include matching specialists to patients by race or ethnicity; adapting patient materials to reflect patient culture, language, or literacy skills; offering education via community-based health advocates; and incorporating norms about faith, food, family, or self-image into care
Strength of evidence
Evidence level: Proven (highest tier)
Proven (highest tier)
Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps
Outcomes and impact
- Improved health outcomes, mental health, and health-related knowledge
- Improved chronic disease management
- Increased cancer screening
- Improved outcomes are strongest for asthma, mental health, diabetes treatment, cancer screening, and smoking cessation
Keys to successful implementation
- Note: This content is under review
- Strategies should be developed with the goal of minimizing health disparities across cultures. Understanding the characteristics and nuances of different cultures are necessary in designing a program that minimizes bias in healthcare access and utilization.
- To ensure high quality strategies, programs should be developed and tested with diverse patients, then revised in response to feedback.
- Strategies can include well-translated informational materials, the inclusion of cultural elements like food and music, and culturally familiar forms of communication between providers and patients.
- In developing specific content, providers can leverage cultural values and metaphors, partner with community groups to develop culturally-relevant materials, and work with patient families to understand individual obstacles to care.
- Adaptations should aim not only to improve patient care but also improve health literacy, the patient navigation experience, case management, and after care.
- Ensuring that staff is well-trained, culturally competent, and able to make a cultural "match" is critical in fostering trust between patients and healthcare providers.