Culturally adapted health care

Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

  • This strategy can help residents access health services. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve this outcome are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
  • Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Program overview

  • 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
Target Population
Cost per Participant
Not available

Evidence and impacts


Ranked as having the highest level of evidence by County Health Rankings and Roadmaps

  • 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

Best practices in 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.